Master of Public Health Alumnus Returns to Pursue Doctoral Degree

Master of Public Health alumnus returns to pursue doctoral degree
Maxwell Roy is the director of operations at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington County, Wisconsin. He currently is pursuing a doctor of public health degree at MCW.

Maxwell Roy, MPH ’17, fondly remembers beginning his Master of Public Health (MPH) program at MCW in 2014. It happened to be the exact same day he started working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington County (Wisconsin). Over the next several years, Roy would contribute unique and innovative ideas to the clubs’ outcome-driven programming focused on healthy lifestyles, academic success and character-building. “Whether it be public health management or administration concepts, or program development concepts, ideas for funding and fundraising, and so on, I was able to take my learning experiences and apply it all to my work,” he shares.

When it came time for Roy to identify a field placement – which is the culminating experience of the MPH program – he found himself working with strategists from the Washington Ozaukee Health Department to create a county-wide mental health awareness program. “The idea was to provide better resources and access to education and services in the hope that we would see a reduction in the negative outcomes associated with mental health,” he says.

Roy used the model he built from his field placement to create the Healthy Minds & Body Initiative, which supports youth involved with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington County to grow into confident adults who can be leaders and positively contribute to their community. The initiative received recognition and funding by Froedtert West Bend Hospital and was recognized as the “2021 Program of the Year” by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wisconsin state alliance.

David Nelson, PhDRoy attributes much of his success during and since his MPH program to its faculty and staff, particularly David Nelson, PhD, MCW associate professor of family and community medicine (pictured right), who continued to serve as a mentor following Roy’s graduation. “Dr. Nelson fueled my focus on how to incorporate public health into my work,” Roy notes. It was this relationship that led Roy back to MCW in 2021 – this time as part of the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program’s inaugural cohort of students.

MCW’s accredited, online DrPH program consists of 46 credits including 10 dissertation credits. The curriculum is delivered using a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities including three summer visits to campus. Students participate in a cohort model, and the program is designed to be completed in three years.

Roy now seeks to better understand how to provide leadership within public health practice, something he feels especially passionate about since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I saw that if I didn’t provide the proper leadership for my team during this time, we wouldn’t be able to carry out our mission.” Similar to the MPH program, Roy has found the DrPH program to be flexible, focused and engaging. “I feel invigorated, I feel excited and I’ve been really happy with it so far,” Roy remarks.

– Anthony J. Perez

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