Kyanna Williams Pate (BCHS ‘19) wrote her thesis focusing on social media’s role in disseminating public health campaigns. After graduation, she also assisted as an administrator for a short time at the Center for Health Equity.
Regarding her professional ambitions, Williams Pate explained, “While I explored a community health career, I found that medicine is my true passion. I know that my public health background will help me to better serve my patients and to better understand how their social conditions may impact their physical or mental health.”
In August 2021, Williams Pate completed another Master’s program in Biomedical Studies at Chatham University. “It was very different from biomedical science since BCHS is more social science and biomedical science is more of a natural science,” she said. “However, the biomedical science program was designed for students seeking professional health degrees such as medicine, physician’s assistant, or dentistry. Because of this, I was able to use my public health background to help solve different clinical cases that were presented.”
In addition to her studies, Williams Pate was also working remotely with Gateway Medical Society during the COVID-19 pandemic. She explained, “This gave me a lot of exposure to various medical specialties and also demonstrated the level of impact that physicians were able to make with improving COVID-19 vaccine uptake.”
Through her work with the Gateway Medical Society, Williams Pate also assisted in coordinating several community health webinars, including “Ask a Black Doctor” in partnership with 1Hood Media. “This show includes a monthly panel of physicians of color who answer questions about COVID-19 and the vaccines and has an audience of over 20,000 people,” she said. Episodes of “Ask a Black Doctor” can be found on 1Hood Media’s Facebook page.
Williams Pate is the current interim Executive Director at Allen Place Community Services, Inc. in Pittsburgh. “Through this work, we predominantly serve seniors and intergenerational families on the North Side of Pittsburgh,” she said. “We help to bring education and awareness to chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension to help reduce poor health outcomes. I also work closely with several community stakeholders, so that we can include guest speakers from various health backgrounds including nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, nutritionists, and public health professionals.”
Reflecting on her time at GSPH, Williams Pate offered some advice to current and prospective students interested in public health research and practice. “I wanted to practice globally in low- and middle-income countries, which is why I completed a certificate in Global Health,” she explained. “While all of my classes helped to make me a successful person, some of the most beneficial for my current line of work were Program Planning and Evaluation, Population Problems, Research Methods, Health Communications, Global Infectious Diseases, and my Global Health courses.”
Looking forward, Williams Pate discussed how she envisioned her career path. “My ideal practice would be an all-encompassing healthcare center that provides care for the under-insured, helps to address each patient’s basic unmet needs, screens for healthcare conditions, and provides the highest quality primary care for each patient that visits the office,” she said. “I want my practice to be a safe space for all patients regardless of the color of their skin, gender identity, or sexual preference. Through practicing public health, I’ve realized that it is my passion to work with underserved populations and to address health disparities that predominantly impact people of color.”