Dr. Vinita Sharma
What originally encouraged you to work and teach in the public health space?
I am originally from Nepal, which has a long history of incorporating public health into both formal academic curriculum and healthcare delivery systems. So, the discipline of public health was not new for me. I have worked in the field of public health, in different roles and capacities, for over 15 years now. Looking back, I don’t think it was one particular event that made me want to work and teach in the public health space. Rather, it was a combination of my work in the HIV prevention space and my interest in research that drove me to pursue a Bachelor’s in Public Health (BPH). Right after my undergraduate degree, I got the opportunity to teach as an instructor and loved it! I have been teaching public health-related courses ever since.
What brought you to Boise State University?
The incredible energy of the team at the School of Public and Population Health that interviewed me, along with the staff members who I got to meet during the on-site visit, embodied what being “pro-public health” means to me. The support that I would receive for my teaching and research, coupled with opportunities to be of service to the health and well-being of Idahoans, convinced me that I wanted to become a Bronco!
What courses are you most excited to teach and engage students with? And why?
This semester, I am teaching Foundations of Health Education and Promotion (HEP 240). The willingness of my students to engage in challenging discussions about the role of health education and promotion is very exciting. Their insights into how things could be done better fills me with hope for the future. I am excited about teaching Health Education and Promotion Methods (PUBH 342) and Advanced Prevention and Intervention Design (MPH 512) in Spring 2023. I am also exploring opportunities to engage students in my research and to connect them with public health agencies for service learning.
What sort of research or project (current or future) are you excited about?
We (a team of faculty and students in the School of Public and Population Health) are currently analyzing the unmet needs of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) in Idaho. Working alongside such motivated team members, I am excited about identifying local counties where additional services could be targeted. Talking about the future, I am also a member of another multi-site research team tasked with analyzing long-term effects of COVID-19, funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I am excited about learning novel techniques for disease surveillance.
What do you enjoy doing for fun?
It really depends upon my mood and time availability. I like brisk-walking while listening to music. If I have more time, I will binge watch shows. However, nothing beats getting to close your eyes with a cup of coffee in your hand and listening to the whispers of nature.