Dahae Hailey Bae currently works as a research fellow, and she studied piano and biochemistry in college. Hailey’s goal is to become a doctor who works in underserved areas of the United States and across the globe. Hailey lived in South Korea during elementary school, and she is particularly interested in health issues related to North Korea. As a public health professional, Hailey wants to “spread the message of hope to our community and beyond.” Read more about Hailey’s viewpoint and reasons for pursuing an MPH.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am originally from South Korea, and I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. I studied piano performance and biochemistry in college. I moved to Maryland in 2009 for school and later worked at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health as a research fellow. My desire is both to learn and to find passionate expression for that knowledge. Growing up, I fell in love with music and wanted to become a professional pianist. Many people think that music is a hobby, but thoroughly understanding and giving a sensitive, artistic performance of music requires extensive study and practice. To cultivate a musical melody, I poured over scores and books and reviewed videos of my favorite players. Sergei Rachmaninoff, one of the most famous pianists and composers in classical music history, once said, “Music is born only in the heart, and it appeals only to the heart.” It is the heart where my passion grows into action, and I feel that my heart will find its ultimate expression in being a compassionate health care provider. As I have learned to deeply connect with music both through discipline and feeling, I believe I will be able to similarly connect with people and communities nationally and internationally and help them conquer health challenges they face.
Why did you decide to earn a Master of Public Health?
I think that nothing is more precious than our health. When we are healthy, we can be active and follow our dreams, but sickness can impede our daily lives, and a serious illness can bring us to a screeching halt. When people asked me what I would like to do when I grew up, I always answered, “I want to help those in need!” My goal is to become a doctor who recognizes the importance of public health and works for the underserved areas of our nation and the globe.
Why did you choose the MPH@GW program?
The MPH@GW program really fits my schedule perfectly. I have to admit that the online-based courses are as rigorous and demanding as regular classes. But I am very happy that I chose this program because it allows me to keep my work commitments while I study for my master’s degree. I am learning a lot from the classes I have taken so far, and this program really is a wonderful opportunity for my future career.
What excites you most about the program?
More than anything, the discussion-based courses help me gain confidence in this field. As a future public health professional, I need to know how to communicate efficiently about health issues and share that knowledge with the public, peers and other professionals in different fields. To me, one of the most exciting aspects of the program is the people. I’m excited I have had the chance to talk and study with an enthusiastic group of peers from all over the country.
Do you have a favorite class and professor?
I already feel like I have significantly expanded my knowledge in this field. I appreciate every course because they help me realize that everything is connected to public health. During this past semester especially, I enjoyed Environmental & Occupational Health in a Sustainable World with Dr. LaPuma. The course instructor, Mel Peffers, is always willing to answer my questions whether they’re regarding the course materials or job-related questions. It has been truly great!
Have you selected a focus area?
I have not yet selected a focus area, but I am very interested in global missions and enjoy globetrotting. I went to Peru twice for medical missions in 2012 and in 2013, Mexico and Belize, and the Philippines, where I experienced Category 5 Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in 2013. Thankfully, I came back to the United States alive! Those experiences confirmed my passion for global health and my desire to work for global missions. I would like to focus on global health and health policy in the near future.
This coming summer, I am planning to go to Lima, Peru, with Dr. Vyas and Dr. Parrish through the summer course Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship: A Case Study of Peru (PubH 6590). I am thankful that they accepted me to join the crew this year and am very excited for the opportunity!
What else should we know about you?
When I am not studying, I am working on my personal art projects, drawing, playing the piano, cooking or running. I would like to connect with other MPH@GW peers to talk about our interests and support each other. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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