Alumna Julia Hage passionate about public health

julia-hage

Alumna Julia Hage ’15, ‘16 is putting her passion for public health into practice through new healthcare initiatives and a position at ProMedica.

Hage’s journey at Bowling Green State University began in pursuit of a degree in biology, but as she entered her senior year she enrolled in an introduction to public health course that sparked a deeper interest. “I had begun to learn about the world of health and understand the disparities in access, prevention and care that occur worldwide,” Hage said. The course taught by Philip Welch, assistant professor and graduate coordinator, introduced her to a new world that she quickly found she had a passion for. “Dr. Welch took me under his wing and introduced me to public health research and needs within the world,” Hage said.

Welch often encouraged students to get involved both on and off campus by attending various community health events including 5k runs, blood drives and symposia. Through these events Hage was afforded the opportunity to engage with the community that she has made many great strides in to promote public health.

During her time as an undergraduate student, Hage participated in multiple student organizations that gave her the opportunity to volunteer and work on projects at BGSU and in the Bowling Green community. “I spent time volunteering at Preview Days for future students, serving at local food shelters, and cleaning up athletic arenas after sporting events,” Hage said.

In May 2015, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology.

“I then applied to the Northwest Ohio Consortium for Public Health so that I could continue learning about public health after graduation,” Hage said. “After learning about the study of public health, I knew I had to continue on to do my graduate work in that field.”

“I think Julia was compelled by all that BGSU does in regard to improving health,” Welch said. “I also asked her to attend the BGSU Preview Day to talk to potential students. It was there that she met and spoke with Drs. Fleming and Rebecca Fallon which helped Julia decide to pursue the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at BGSU.”

Hage was soon accepted as a graduate assistant where she conducted and assisted with research for BGSU while forming invaluable connections with public health agencies.

“Through my graduate work, within BGSU and in the community, I was able to gain knowledge and build relationships that led me to becoming a professional within the field,” she said.

One of her first projects as a graduate student was to understand the modes of emergency communication that students would like to see occur. “Using the 2014 and 2015 Toledo Water Crises as the example of a public health emergency, those of us working on the study were able to learn what source students would like their information from, and from what organization would they trust receiving the information,” Hage said.

In addition, to the communication project, Hage was instrumental in the Taxi Project, a group working to create health access for students who need transportation to the Wood County Hospital for visits.

“We have collected information to show a need for student transportation from the Falcon Health Center to Wood County Hospital and we hope to create a transportation route that will provide this service to all students of all needs,” she said. “My research professor, Dr. Rebecca Fallon, heard from those at Falcon Health Center that there were students in need of transportation to the hospital. This is where the idea of the taxi service was created.”

By working with members of the community Hage quickly recognized the value of healthcare access and its connection to the overall public health of residents. “With this research, an understanding can be drawn about the healthcare access needs of students. I am also about to begin work on initiatives including telehealth and virtual care visits. These projects include creating convenient, affordable, access to healthcare 24/7, 365 days a year,” she said.

In her final semester Hage was able to expand her scope of influence to an even larger community of people. “I worked as the liaison between Falcon Sports Properties (FSP) and Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board (ADAMHS),” she said. “The marketing provided resources to those struggling with addiction, it promoted healthy living and it allowed public health strategies to put positive mental health in the spotlight.”

Hage graduated with a Masters of Public Health Administration in December 2016.

She is now able to bring her knowledge, passion and dedication to her new position at ProMedica acting as a project analyst on Telehealth, which will introduce virtual care visits in the community.

“The most rewarding part of my work is creating positive change within a variety of communities,” Hage said. “Focusing on disparities and access within these communities, I can get a better understanding on the best way to reach and provide service.”