Alumni Spotlight: Michelle Liu
By Donald Clermont, MPH Candidate ‘18
Public Health students at Tufts University School of Medicine are studying to meet the rising demand of the global health profession. Michelle Liu, BA/MPH ‘12 is one such professional working to meet this demand as a global health management consultant at KMPG International in New York City. Michelle recently returned from a year in the United Kingdom (UK), where she worked at KPMG’s London offices in the public sector. While in the UK, she collaborated on projects with the National Health Service (NHS), helping to improve quality and financial sustainability through payment reform and care system redesign.
KPMG’s is a global health consultancy agency that aims to successfully provide affordable healthcare of the highest possible quality to citizens of different countries. Michelle currently works as a Global Health Executive for KMPG, supporting their healthcare initiatives in over 45 countries. As part of her job, Michelle also serves as the Americas regional executive and facilitates the development of international value-based care efforts and alliances with other healthcare partners. Much of Michelle’s work involves traveling to different countries to collaborate with international KMPG teams or to connect leading healthcare experts to local healthcare leaders. “A lot of my job is helping to share lessons learned and best practices from country to country. One of the best aspects about working in global health is being able to see the on-the-ground efforts that, say the Netherlands is making around innovative nursing care models, or the challenges Colombia has encountered since rolling out universal healthcare.”
Michelle began working for KMPG soon after graduating from Tufts’ Master of Public Health (MPH) program in 2012. As an undergraduate, Michelle majored in International Relations and French before beginning the MPH program as a Health Services Management and Policy concentrator. When speaking about the utility of her MPH, Michelle says, “The best thing about studying public health was developing a better understanding of the health care landscape, which is so complex. Many of my colleagues without a public health background struggled with that. The topics we studied in my courses—prevention, value in health care, financial stability—are relevant in my work. They are issues we see in all countries across the world.”
Michelle implemented her MPH Applied Learning Experience (ALE) with the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) where she wrote and disseminated a survey on the adoption of infant feeding practices around HIV in accordance with new World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. After completing her ALE with UNICEF, Michelle continued working on her research with her preceptor and ultimately presented her findings to the UNICEF team in New York City and at a WHO workshop in Nairobi, Kenya.
“Tufts’ MPH program is very supportive of global health studies, such as my ALE. The course material is also very applicable to fieldwork. Public Health and Health Care with Dr. Amy Lischko, Associate Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine (PHCM), and Health Care Organization with Mark Haas, Adjunct Assistant Professor of PHCM, were extremely helpful to my work in general. So many healthcare organizations and countries are trying to improve their care delivery while facing tremendous financial pressure, so those courses were great for navigating the landscape of global health,” says Michelle.
Michelle realized she wanted to work in global health after doing some undergraduate research on HIV/AIDS prevention in Ethiopia and she hopes to continue in healthcare either domestically or internationally. “I enjoyed working on the Affordable Care Act as much as I did with the NHS, and there are some very exciting changes going on in US healthcare at the moment so I’m excited to see what’s next.”
For students looking for a career in global health, Michelle says, “My advice for students in the Tufts MPH program is to network as much as possible. Talking to someone before you apply is the best way to get a sense of the workplace culture. For those interested in global health, I would say to focus on something that’s transferrable. The things I did in New York with UNICEF and with Medicaid were very transferrable to the UK and I was able to have those experiences close to home.”