Christina Sese always knew she wanted to work in the healthcare field.
Initially certified as a medical coder, Sese returned to school in 2014 and earned her bachelor's degree in healthcare management. Immediately after graduation, she was promoted to a management position at her home health agency where she works. Three years later, Sese decided she was ready to return to school in order to expand her career options. After asking around and doing some research, she decided to enroll in West Coast University’s Master of Public Health program.
When things got tough while pursuing her MPH from WCU, Sese always knew where she could go for inspiration — the mirror.
“I literally woke up every day and asked myself, 'How bad do you want this? How bad do you want this master's degree?' That was what made me fight,” Sese said. “That whole year, I think I wrote 60 papers. I counted. It was definitely over 50. It's a fast-paced program. It feels like a two-year program pushed into one, so you have to have commitment.”
“I really felt like if I was going to invest in myself one last time and give up one year to dedicate myself to this, it has to be something interesting,’ Sese said. “Because it was a different field for me it was challenging. It wasn't your ordinary management duties, but that's what I loved about it. My favorite part was I didn't know the answer to a lot of things so I had to work hard to find them and to understand how public health works.”
In her current position as director of health information management, Sese supervises the medical records, coding, payroll and quality assurance departments.
"I am currently specializing and working with the Compliance Team. We make sure to follow all health regulations, from organizations like Department of Health, Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and accreditation bodies.”
While that role doesn’t exactly handle elements of public health, Sese’s duties range from consistently reviewing infection control programs to educating the staff.
“I think there's something new in public health every day. I don't think one will ever get bored doing something so diverse. While I am not in a true public health role at this moment, I feel that contributing to public health in small ways has already been impactful. And that alone makes me feel content and happy about my choice,” Sese said. “Public health basically touches on everything. With the coronavirus — I know there is a lot of bad news — but for a public health person this is a very exciting time.”
We asked Christina why she chose public health as a focus:
"Public health touches every part of the healthcare field. It is a branch of medicine I love and respect. I want to design intervention programs and contribute my ideas and interests through commonalities among populations. With public health, you can specialize in epidemiology, environmental health, community health, global health, maternal and child health, and more. I'd like to specialize in health policy and management."
Why did you decide to join WCU Alumni?
I feel like the school is predominately nursing, so I thought this was my opportunity to have an edge. I wanted to stand out. This will allow me to reach out to other students who are going through similar paths, and I am willing to engage and support them through their journey. The WCU Alumni program have many interactive social gatherings and all have been great opportunities to be a leader.
What advice do you have for people interested in the MPH program?
The main thing a working adult wonders is, “Is this program doable?” The answer is yes. If you have the discipline, organization and commitment, all things are possible!