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Tufts Public Health

Rima Desai

Building on her Tufts experience, Rima Desai (MPH ‘18) is leveraging data and digital marketing to improve patient communication.

What inspired you to earn your MPH at Tufts?

I was in the community health program during my undergraduate program at Tufts. I learned a lot about the healthcare system and began understanding that there are effective ways to intervene and help patients that go beyond clinical care. I was eager to learn more, which inspired me to earn my MPH.

How would you describe classes at Tufts?

Classes are small and intimate, so you end up knowing everyone in the program. You settle into your coursework and find your niche. And you’re in the classroom with students who are pursuing a range of different dual degrees, which means exposure to lots of different backgrounds and interests.

Many of the professors work outside the school, which means they have a lot of experience and insight to share. One example that comes to mind is Fernando Ona. He led these really engaging conversations based on his own experience working in public health, which got us all thinking differently about our course work.

As a student, what kind of work were you doing outside the classroom and in the field?

I worked closely with my health communications professor and mentor, Lisa Gualtieri, at her non-profit organization, which brings FitBits to underprivileged communities. I built the organization’s website and social media profiles, and helped with overall digital marketing efforts.

As part of my Applied Learning Experience (ALE), I researched at the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety. I investigated patient safety problems in ambulatory care settings. The objective of my work was to figure out how to connect doctors, nurses, and safety coordinators to existing safety tools and help them better implement them. Based on my findings I developed a website wireframe to serve as a resource for healthcare professionals.

What are you doing today and how did Tufts prepare you?

I work on the strategy team at Centron, a pharmaceutical advertising agency. In my work I create patient personas and do a lot of background research on disease states and effective communication. The work I did for my MPH ties directly into health communication and how to effectively build health websites and apps.

I received a lot of support from Career Services as I prepared to enter the job market. My family is from India and I'm a first generation American, so it was great to have help with transitioning into opportunities and situations that might have otherwise felt unfamiliar.

What do you want a prospective MPH student to know about Tufts?

The Tufts MPH program was a wonderful environment for me to continue learning, and a chance to explore new spaces and ideas. There’s no doubt that the time you spend at Tufts truly is an investment in your future.

Rima Desai, MPH'18
Rima Desai
MPH, Behavioral Science and Health Communication