Qi Yao, Partnership HealthPlan of California

Qi Yao

"While Tufts has a relatively small Public Health program compared to other schools, its size is what makes the Tufts program great."

Quality Improvement Analyst, Partnership HealthPlan of California
MPH 2017


Tell us about your current job.
I currently work as a Quality Improvement Analyst in the Quality Incentive Program of the QI Department at Partnership Healthplan of California, a non-profit health care organization that contracts with the State to administer Medi-Cal benefits through local care providers to ensure high-quality care. The Program is designed to help care providers deliver better health care and incentivize them based on their performance. In this position, my daily work is to analyze provider performance data, make changes to measurement specifications and manage projects to improve health care delivery by our contracted providers. My work is very meaningful at helping California low-income residents get the quality care they need, and incentivize providers to reach our mutual goal.

What inspired you to pursue an MPH or MS in your area of specialization?
Being in good health is one of the most important things in my life, and I wanted a career that would focus on keeping people healthy. I’m interested in analyzing data, designing improvement strategies and implementing action plans to improve people’s health. An MPH was the ideal degree for me to pursue.

What drew you to the Tufts Program?
The healthcare system in Massachusetts is a great model, and I wanted to come to Boston to learn more about it. While Tufts has a relatively small Public Health program compared to other schools, its size is what makes the Tufts program great. Students receive more individualized attention from faculty and Career Services, and they have access to a lot of resources. By locating the campus in the center of Boston, Tufts has really good connections with Tufts Medical Center and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and also offers more public health opportunities to students who want to work in different public health settings and with different populations.

How did your Tufts degree help prepare you to work in the field (or what were the highlights of your Program)?
Because I value real world experience more than academic learning, I focused heavily on extracurricular activities. Each semester, with Career Services’ help, I was able to find great internship and volunteer opportunities. And together with Career Services and the help of my program faculty, I was able to find an ALE that was really rewarding.

Not only does the program itself offer many opportunities, the Career Service office does its best to ensure students get what they need to prepare for future work. Career Services and professors constantly followed up with me to ensure I was on the right track.

The MPH program itself is very well structured, and professors from different fields of Public Health at Tufts not only taught me the fundamental knowledge, but also inspired me to pursue public health passionately. The knowledge, skills, real world experience and passion I gained at Tufts are the keys that lead me to my current job.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
1. Definitely spend as much time as you can gaining practical experience. Public Health is one of the fields that requires a lot of experience, especially when it comes to job hunting. A good two years of experience will make you really competitive. The ALE, Career Expo, and the many hospitals and healthcare organizations in Boston are the places you can gain experience.
2. Plan ahead, do your "homework" and start early. There are so many possibilities in Public Health, so many things you can do. Figure out what you like to do, then do those things with passion and have a solid long term plan to achieve your goal.