In January of 2021, the City of New Haven’s Health Department initiated a request for proposals for the development of a comprehensive Strategic Plan. The goal of the plan was to aid with structuring the priorities within the department and assist with other efforts pertaining to public health accreditation.
Ernest C. Trefz School of Business Director Dr. Timothy Raynor, along with UB graduate students Nina Stegu, Avinash Veeraraghav and Turenne Sabine, saw this as an opportunity to contribute to the community and began working on a Strategic Plan.
The team initially meet with the project coordinator to finalize the work plan, then the students got to work developing a survey and conducting interviews with stakeholders.
“This sort of project involves a lot of thinking – to consider the most important aspects of a survey, and how to go about answering those questions,” said Avinash Veeraraghav, a student in the Master of Public Health program.
“Strategic planning taught me how to formulate targeted and condensed questions from a wide/broad data collection,” adds Turenne Sabine, also an MPH student. “There are so many intricate details and things to consider in the field of public health.”
The skills acquired in UB’s MPH program are both practical and transferable to a number of fields. The curriculum engages both the science and practice of public health management, focusing on skill development for current and emerging leaders.
Maritza Bond, MPH, is an adjunct professor in the MPH program and current Director of Public Health for the City of New Haven.
“I want to extend my gratitude to the graduate students that worked on developing the New Haven Health Department’s 5 year Strategic Plan,” said Bond. “Their contribution towards creating this plan has been invaluable. The commitment and tenacity from each student is a testament of the future leaders who will shape the future of public health.”
For Dr. Raynor, this is all part of the learning experience at UB.
In the School of Business, we focus on a blended approach of theory and practice,” he said. “All of our professors are practitioners; real-world, project-based learning is a part of our focus and expertise. This project provided the students with a real and relevant experience. They engaged stakeholders in the middle of a global pandemic, and their efforts are going to help the city with their national public health accreditation.”
The students performed research and analyzed the resulting data, eventually finalizing a Strategic Plan that was successfully delivered to the City of New Haven Health Department on December 10, 2021.
Nina Stegu, an MBA student in the School of Business, said the project was a stimulating experience.
“Working on a Strategic Plan for New Haven’s Health Department project was challenging since it pushed me out of my comfort zone to explore new ways of thinking, as well as very interesting and fun. It included research on the current public health challenges and potential solutions, articulation of survey questions, team collaboration, collection and analysis of data. This process aimed to strategically identify the long- and short-term goals and develop strategies to achieve those goals.”
The new Strategic Plan aims to establish Health Department priorities and serve as a guide to increase the overall level of health services and programming through disease prevention and health promotion, so that quality of life issues are effectively addressed. This is in alignment with and in support of the Health Department’s mission, which is to ensure and advocate for the health and well-being of all New Haven residents.
Learn more about leadership experiences like these at the Ernest C. Trefz School of Business.