Alumni in 5
Michael Williams '13
Public Administration, Political Science, Statistics
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Public Health Analyst (Policy)
1. Tell us about your journey since graduation.
Since I left Grand Valley in the Spring of 2013, I have been honored to work at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And in my near decade of government service, my commitment and desire to be a public servant has not waned even one degree. From working with diverse constituencies to tackle infectious disease emergencies in West Virginia to engaging elected and non-elected state leaders to identify policy solutions to eliminate health disparities, my tenure at CDC has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I also earned a Master of Public Health and owe my success in graduate school to all the faculty and staff at Grand Valley who prepared all of us to become lifelong learners.
2. Share a favorite Grand Valley memory.
I absolutely loved being a campus tour guide. Nothing beats seeing moms, dads, and/or other family members go from "anxious and worried to send their child off to school" to "comfortable and excited to see their child assimilate into this amazing campus community." I am thankful to have been part of many of those moments. And, special shoutout to 2011 - 2012 Ott Living Center residents and the WHOJR staff!
3. What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
"If you want to identify a problem, you should come prepared to discuss its solution."
4. List three words you would use to describe your Grand
Maturing, Challenging, Papa Johns
5. What difference would you like to make in the world?
Because law and policy can drastically impact the health, wellbeing, safety, etc. of individuals and whole communities, democratically elected leaders have an awesome opportunity to improve the lives of the constituents they serve. Using sound scientific methods, we can assess how law/policy impacts where and when disease spreads as well as who and ultimately why people get sick. These data and outcomes can be communicated to lawmakers so science-informed policy decisions can be deliberated, enacted, and implemented. I hope to assist in establishing this practice as a routine part of policymaking and equip public health agencies to provide this sort of technical assistance when called upon by their elected leaders. Science-informed policy saves lives, saves money, eliminates health disparities, and protects youth.
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