Haley Cothern

Haley Cothern

Everyone within the School of Public Health truly cares and wants to see all students succeed in not only their studies, but also become influential members for the field of public health.

What does public health mean to you?

Public health is all about prevention. Imagine a cliff: at the bottom of the cliff there is an ambulance and at the top are numerous people. Right before the cliff drops off, there is a fence that is utilized to prevent those people from falling off that cliff. The fence represents all professions in the field of public health and its significant responsibility to save lives.

Why did you choose to study public health at WVU?

I never really discovered public health; the profession found me. During my experience as an emergency department scribe, I quickly realized the clinical setting was not for me. Although I have always wanted to care for people and assist in improving my community, I discovered there are other ways of improving the quality and delivery of patient care. Moreover, enhancing public health initiatives truly interests me as it connects everything and everyone throughout the medical field.

The School of Public Health at WVU offers numerous opportunities in the classroom and in the field to gain real-world experience. I was quickly drawn to the courses listed in my major as I believe the concepts and involvement within the community will benefit me in my future profession.

Additionally, I choose to stay and pursue my MHA degree here because I knew that I would have the opportunities to grow as a forthcoming healthcare administrator and had the mentors here to help me achieve my goals.

Have you had any particular professors or faculty members who have made an impact on you while at WVU? If so, how?

Dr. Erik Carlton has had a profound impact on me and my studies during my time at WVU. After taking Intro to Health Administration in the Fall 2020 semester with him as my professor, I was certain that health care administration would become my passion. Additionally, he has provided me with insights and opportunities in the healthcare industry, as he assisted in landing me a summer internship. Indeed, Dr. Carlton has truly become an invaluable mentor for me.

While applying to graduate schools to continue my education for my Master of Health Administration, Dr. Steve Davis has also had a major impact on me. After taking Public Health Project Management in the Fall 2020 semester with Dr. Davis as my professor, I knew that he truly cared for all his students. Since then, we have met frequently to discuss applying to graduate schools, tips for the future and life in general. Additionally, I have had the opportunity work alongside him through his Telehealth project as a student worker. I’m grateful for his mentoring, support and dedication to my success. 

Have you had any hands-on experiences?

I recently had hands-on experience in healthcare administrator roles as an intern at WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Throughout my participation, I assisted in various projects involving strategic and development initiatives for the organization. I also gained an understanding about both hospital and clinical operations and the importance of management in the healthcare system.

I am looking forward to the upcoming summer as I will be a resident for the UPMC Administrative Summer Residency Program!

What would you tell prospective students about WVU and the School of Public Health?

WVU is a large university; however, as a student in the School of Public Health you quickly feel a sense of belonging within a tight-knit community. The faculty and staff provide an intimate educational setting and support to its students as we tackle critical public health issues that many are facing, especially in West Virginia and throughout the Appalachian region. Smaller class sizes and experienced faculty mentors prepare students for a variety of careers in the public health field as well.

What advice would you give to your freshman self?

Seek every opportunity and experience possible! Becoming well-educated and knowledgeable in your interests and potential career will have long-term benefits. Get involved in clubs, reach out to professors and faculty, and make connections with those who can help you reach your future goals.

How have your experiences in the School of Public Health helped prepare you for your future?

The relationships built with faculty and staff in the School of Public Health have allowed me to build a better understanding for why public health is omnipresent in today’s world. Through their insights and course concepts, I feel that my experiences and knowledge thus far will prepare me to lead healthcare systems of the future.

What do you plan to do upon completion of your degree?

Upon completion of my MHA degree, I plan on applying to various administrative fellowships. Particularly, I am interested in ambulatory operations but I'm keeping all doors open!

What's your favorite book?


What's your favorite TV series?

"Dead to Me."

What's your favorite music artist?

The 1975.

What's your favorite place you’ve visited?

Australia - Having the opportunity to snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef was amazing!

What's your favorite local restaurant?

The Wine Bar.

What's your favorite thing to do when you’re not doing schoolwork?

Go hiking.