Alumna Appreciates how College of Public Health Positioned her to Excel Professionally

By Kev' Moye

In that role, her primary duty is to implement the Medicaid Patient-Centered Medical Home program for Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

“Helping our young patients receive the care that they need is huge for their future and also the future of Arkansas,” she said. “I enjoy seeing the impact of different initiatives we do regarding patient outcomes and patient health.”

Cohen, who earned a Master of Health Administration from the college in 2016, got her Bachelor of Science in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Tulsa.

Following graduation, Cohen — who grew up in Little Rock — wanted to return home. She also realized that a career in speech pathology was not what she wanted long term. Through community connections and speaking with health care professionals, she was introduced to the field of public health.

“That’s how I found out about the College of Public Health and built a rapport with people who were going to school there,” she said.

Cohen would eventually receive a chance to work with the school’s Department of Epidemiology on a research project. She then began to enroll in the college. While working on the application for the Master of Public Health program, Cohen realized her background was a better fit for the field of health administration.

“I already had a lot of experience working in billing, coding, patient accounts, check-in and checkout, clinic operations,” Cohen said. “I realized that I could put that experience to work in my career.

“I chose to enroll in the MHA program because UAMS is a leader of public health education in Arkansas.”

She enjoyed the diversity of the college and how the academic expectations prompted students to intensely pursue their public health education and goals.

“There were people from all backgrounds and various stages of life in the college,” she said. “There were executives in health care who were coming back to get a master’s degree. There were people who had experience working in a clinic, blood bank or wherever who had their interest piqued in the inner workings of health care systems, attending the school.

“But you must be driven, a self-starter. The instructors will not hand anything to you. You’re going to have to put in the work.”

Cohen says the MHA program has helped immensely in her current position. The education, the networking opportunities and being at the forefront of public health in Arkansas make the College of Public Health an invaluable asset to the state, Cohen said.

“Being in the college was great for me,” she said. “I learned a lot from it. If you care about Arkansas and public health in Arkansas — it’s the place to go.”