A Life-Changing Decision That Will Change Lives

Syracuse University junior Tim Bryant had been working as a massage therapist for ten years until he decided to make a huge life change – he enrolled in the bachelor’s of public health program in the Falk College.

“It seemed like a natural progression to study public health as I’m generally concerned with the quality of life of people,” said Bryant.

There are many universities in the Central New York region, where Bryant has been a resident of for the past seven years. However, Bryant chose to study at SU because “it has the only part time HEOP program in the state, which allows him to continue working full time as I work towards my degree.”

Bryant has had many highlights so far during his time at SU.

“I’ve met and befriended some of the most dedicated faculty members and students,” said Bryant, “but none of this would be remotely possible for me without the help and guidance of Dr. Sandy Lane.”

In Spring 2011, Bryant was inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda, the honor society for non-traditional students. This summer, Bryant studied comparative health policy abroad in Amsterdam, Geneva, and Morocco with Dr. Lane, who he calls “one of his favorite persons.” While in Syracuse, Bryant has also had opportunities to take what he learns in the classroom and apply it to the real world.

Through his health literacy class taught by Luvenia Cowart, professor of practice, public health, he was able to work at Onondaga County Department of Corrections. There, he assists one of the teachers in a family education class for the inmates. In the near future, he will be working with Dessa Bergen-Cico, assistant professor, public health, on her research related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and work to reach out to certain communities within the Syracuse area to get them involved in a study.

“I’m able to utilize many of the skills and put to practical use much of the knowledge I’ve gained in the classroom. It’s an amazing experience to be able to see through the lens of a public health professional and get a greater appreciation for the positive impact one person can truly make,” said Bryant.

Bryant has always been extremely passionate about public health in general, and he says that the program at SU has helped him figure out what specific direction he wants to take that passion in.

To someone considering a path in public health, Bryant says, “remain open and have faith that your own niche will become evident as you discover, as you inevitably will, not just more about this fascinating field, but ultimately more about you.”

Article by Masha Snitkovsky, ‘13