Honorary:, PhD, MPH
This school is one of the most unique environments I have ever been a part of. If you really dive in, you’ll take so much away from this experience that you’ll definitely carry throughout your career.
“This program, and this school, is one of the most unique environments I have ever been a part of. If you really dive in, you’ll take so much away from this experience that you’ll definitely carry throughout your career.”
Those are the words Amy Hunter used to greet the newest WVU School of Public Health undergraduate students during Orientation in fall 2020. A graduate of the Ph.D. in Public Health Sciences program, the Hunter has remained an active member of the School of Public Health community, helping her fellow Mountaineers pursue their passions like she did.
A native of Philadelphia, Pa., Hunter began her experience in Morgantown by earning a Regents Bachelor of Arts prior to entering the Master of Public Health program with concentrations in Biostatistics and Epidemiology. During her undergraduate and graduate studies, she shared her passion for public health in the community and across the county as the president of the School’s Gamma Mu Chapter of Delta Omega Honorary Society, student co-chair and student liaison for the Injury Control and Emergency Health Services section of the American Public Health Association, and co-editor of the Injury Prevention News.
Throughout the PhD program, Hunter’s research examined how child welfare policy impacts the risk for child maltreatment re-report and recurrence. She also worked as a graduate research assistant for the WVU Injury Control Research Center, contributing to the development of injury resource guides for the state of West Virginia.
That interest in injury prevention among children has continued into her current career.
Hunter is now an injury epidemiologist and research scientist at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Injury Prevention Center and an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics. In her current role, she manages the Connecticut Injury Surveillance System, working to identify trends around child maltreatment and the opioid epidemic. She also received the 2019 NVDRS New Investigator Award to support her innovate research.
“I am using all the skills that I took from this program on a daily basis,” she said reflecting on her time in the School of Public Health. “I can’t think of one course, whether it was environmental sciences or occupational health or policy, that hasn’t been applied to my every day work.”
Getting involved on campus provided Hunter many opportunities to expand her knowledge and she recommends all students do the same.
“Do not wait to get to know your faculty and do not wait to get involved,” she advises current students. “They are there to support to you, and I wish I had recognized the willingness of the faculty to engage me as a student sooner.”
To get involved, Hunter recommends engaging with the American Public Health Association, and credits the organization with helping change her life.
“I have my current job through my connections there. I have all of my subsequent appointments through collaborations and most of my publications are with people who I met there. Since public health in itself is such a huge field, getting to know people within very specific specialties is really important and I think you can get those connections at APHA.”
Through her willingness to share advice and support today’s students, Hunter plans to continue investing in a place that invested much in her.
“I came to WVU as an undergraduate because I was impressed with the programs offered in STEM. I stayed because of the Mountaineer community.”