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kirk benge

Kirk Benge

Kirk earned his Master's degree in Public Health in 2007. He currently serves as the Local Health Officer and CEO of the San Juan County Health Department in Blanding, where he relocated in 2017 after a thirteen-year stint with the Utah Department of Health (UDOH).

Kirk began his public health career at UDOH in 2004, serving eleven years in the infectious disease laboratory where, in his role as Section Chief of Virology & Immunology, he oversaw lab testing for a large array of infectious diseases. Prior to his work in San Juan County, Kirk also worked as an Informaticist at UDOH, where he helped rural hospitals in their efforts to move to electronic laboratory disease reporting.

Kirk currently serves on the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) Community Advisory Board, which aims to prioritize work and engage the community in cancer research, services, and prevention efforts. Previously Kirk has served as Chairman of the Lab Services Work Group of the Region 8 Infertility Prevention Regional Advisory Committee, as well as serving on the APHL STD subcommittee, Utah Hepatitis Advisory Council, Weber State University Department of Microbiology Advisory Board, Utah Integrated Testing Advisory Board, and the Utah Council of Epidemiologists and Laboratorians.

Kirk strives to facilitate the effective use of data to improve public health practice and population health outcomes, while sharing his love for fishing and the outdoors with his wife and three children.

carrie butler

Carrie Butler

Carrie Butler earned her MPH and MPP degrees in spring 2018 from the University of Utah and transitioned in to a full time role as the Policy Director for Action Utah (AU). AU is a nonpartisan nonprofit org that seeks to boost civic engagement through education and policy development at the state level in areas such as public health, environmental stewardship, families and communities and education. She credits her public health coursework and her role as a research assistant in helping her prepare for the work she is currently doing.

Carrie is currently involved with work on a slate of health care policy bills such as: price transparency in both medical procedure and pharmaceuticals, Medicaid expansion, 12 month continuous eligibility for children on Medicaid, a vehicle emissions reduction bill and a number of other environmental bills that focus on clean air and clean water./span>

Action Utah has a leadership development program and have been pleased to have some talented fellows join from the Public Health program this year for their practicum work. If you are interested in macro health policy work, please check out

annette harris

Annette Harris

During her MPH, Annette focused on global health policy level interventions, with particular emphasis in East Africa. I also focused on US Health Policy and its execution on the state level. Annette held many leadership positions during her course of study. These include Operations manager for Refugee Resettlement with Catholic Community Services, President and Founder of the Public Affairs and Global Enterprise Student Group, Vice Chair of the Public Health Student Advisory Committee, Secretary of LDS Democrats, and Chair of Utah Refugee Women's Initiative.

Annette was highly involved in the Public Health program, attending conferences such as UPHA, APHA, and presented at the Health and Human Services Committee at the Utah State Legislature. She also was a Research Assistant, Research Intern, and a Teaching Assistant for multiple courses. Annette was Student of the Year for both the Master of Public Health and Master of Public Policy Programs. She was awarded the Public Health Alumni Scholarship, CSBS Dean's Scholarship, and a Public Health Study Abroad Scholarship. Annette was also a Fellow for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Tanzania and attended internships at the Utah State Legislature and the Utah Medical Education Council.

Currently, Annette works as a Global Analyst for BioFire, an Infectious Disease Diagnostics company. She attributes her knowledge of healthcare systems, understanding of infectious disease basics, and data analytics to making her an attractive candidate. As advice to students preparing for graduation, "Get as much quantitative experience and know-how as you possibly can! Work to get a broad set of internships/part-time work experiences during school-it is your only chance to try a lot of different things in a short amount of time. Apply early and to many things, but try to develop a tough skin around rejection-just keep applying."

For prospective students, Annette's advice it to "plan to take full advantage of the global campus structure. Few other programs have so much to offer in regards to international experience. If at all possible, you should try to quit full-time work and focus on class, supplemented by flexible work situations. Full-time work is a barrier to taking full advantage of the degree program, and you get out of it what you put into it."

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