Krista Farley

Master of Science in Community Health Promotion

Krista Farley

Take advantage of every opportunity provided to you by WVU and the School of Public Health to explore all areas of study and placement to find the perfect fit for you and your career trajectory.

Briefly describe your current role as a public health practitioner.  

As the Communications Director for the American Red Cross Central Appalachia Region, I am responsible for internal and external communications for a 77-county area including all of West Virginia and surrounding counties in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio and Virginia.  

I work with Development, Disaster Cycle Services, Service to the Armed Forces, Biomedical Services, Health and Safety and Volunteer Services staff to provide communication and marketing support. I am also responsible for determining and executing a strategic communications plan that is aligned with enterprise-wide communications and marketing strategies, that supports service delivery and revenue generation efforts across all lines of business.  

I respond to local media inquiries by coordinating interviews and serve as a Red Cross spokesperson. I also deploy to disaster-impacted areas to provide communication and public affairs support to ensure people know where shelters and services are available and how those not impacted can help. I also create content and monitor and analyze social engagement data from our multiple social media channels.  

Why did you choose WVU for your public health education?  

As an undergraduate student at West Virginia University, I took a three-semester health promotion course and became enamored with public health. The first semester was learning content to present to on-campus organizations and groups, the second was leading presentations under supervision, and the third was supervising new students in the course. I completed my undergraduate work and pursued my master's degree in public health.  

How did WVU and your experiences in the School of Public Health prepare you to be a public health professional?  

My experience at WVU allowed me to utilize my skills acquired to develop healthy living programs and promote initiatives to a wide variety of populations. I previously served as the Public Information Officer for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, Executive Director for West Virginia on the Move, Program Specialist for the West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities and Program Manager for the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health. Without my experience at WVU, I would not have been as effective in these roles.  

Tell us about your field placement experience. 

My field placement was at the WVU School of Medicine in Charleston with the previous position of Community Promotion Specialist for a multi-county region across West Virginia. It provided the opportunity to travel to communities and create programs and services based on their needs.  

What advice would you give today’s Public Health students?  

Take advantage of every opportunity provided to you by WVU and the School of Public Health to explore all areas of study and placement to find the perfect fit for you and your career trajectory.  

What does public health mean to you?  

Public Health has allowed me to have an extremely successful career while helping individuals in local communities throughout West Virginia to make it a healthier place to live, work and learn. In my current role outside of the typical public health agencies, I can promote lifesaving initiatives such as smoke alarm installations, blood donation, CPR training and more.