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Professor Spotlight: Dr. Virginia Githiri

Indiana University School of Public Health 09.22.2015 09.23.2015Being a senior majoring in community health and two public health related minors, I have had my fair share of great and not so great professors at Indiana University.

I envision a great professor as someone who:

  • Genuinely cares about students
  • Is passionate about the subject
  • Effectively prepares students for assessments
  • Recognizes when students aren’t understanding material
  • Is not boring/ monotone
  • Makes coursework relevant to everyday life

While I have had some great professors, one particular professor came to my mind when I decided to write this blog article. This distinguished woman is Dr. Virginia Githiri. I was very privileged to be one of her lucky students and could not pass up the chance to get to know her more. In doing this, I decided to interview Dr. Githiri. I am so admirable of her compassion for others, her humbleness, and her sense of style, from head to toe. While interviewing Dr. Githiri, I could not bypass a canvas on the wall in her office. The canvas read, “Life is Good.” Dr. Githiri inspired me during our conversation because she expressed living unapologetically and the idea that people would be so happy to have the opportunities that you have. I will continue to live by Dr. Githiri’s encouraging words. Read the following interview to learn more about her!

Quanisha: Where were you born?
Githiri: I was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Q: What college(s) did you attend?
G: I received all of my degrees from here at Indiana University—Bloomington. However, I did receive my MBA from Indiana Wesleyan.

Q: What is your current job position and what are your responsibilities?
G: I am a faculty member in the School of Public Health. My exact job title is a Visiting Lecturer in Applied Health Sciences. I have taught Program Planning and Development, Epidemiology, Community Health, and Nature of Cancer.

Q: Why are you interested in Public Health?
G: I am interested in Public Health because it is intriguing how people can encourage and motivate other individuals to change behaviors in order to improve their health. One does not solely have to go to the doctor to improve his/ her health. I have previously done research on African American women weight loss and maintenance through the use of a FitBit device to track physical activity levels.

Q: What were your previous jobs?
G: Considering I acquired my MBA, I previously worked in the private sector doing finance. I worked at Monroe Hospital as an accountant. I also owned retail store fronts here in Bloomington. The store fronts were a popcorn company and a print shop. I have previously worked at the Indiana State Department of Health doing coordination, management, and facilitation of health empowerment programs.

I served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the African-American and African Diaspora Studies department. I was also an Academic Advisor.

Q: What advice might you pass to someone who is passionate about public health and wants to study Public Health more in depth after their undergraduate career?
G: First begin by researching Master’s of Public Health programs. You can do this simply by visiting program websites, or attending graduate school conferences/ expositions. After you discover programs of your interest, research their active research projects and look into what is available for students as far as faculty and program resources.

Q: Who is the person that influenced you the most?
G: The most influential person in my life is my daddy. Although he went through a lot, he was never deterred and he never complained. He was a man of integrity and is my hero. Certainly my mother was very influential in my life as well.

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
G: I love sitting on my deck, cooking, and traveling. I have been to almost all fifty states with the exceptions of Alaska, Hawaii, and a few others. I am very passionate about singing and it has been my outlet since I was about two- years- old. I have sung with an independent group since I was 19 and all of my songs are original. I am a firm believer in the idea that music can be healing, soothing, and encouraging.

sssQuanisha Morrow is a senior from South Bend, Indiana finishing her community health degree. She is very passionate about eliminating health disparities in underprivileged populations, and lives by the idea that you don’t have to have it all in order to help someone.

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Categories: Professor Spotlight

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