Nick Falkson, MPH22
Tufts' Master of Public Health (MPH) curriculum provides students with the skills and knowledge that they can put into practice right after graduation. Nick Falkson, MPH22, Health Services Management and Policy, shares his thoughts on what makes the Tufts MPH program special.
Why did you choose to pursue the MPH degree?
"After working for a few years at a local healthcare provider, I was hoping to gain skills that would prepare me to contribute more to a career in healthcare administration."
Why did you choose Tufts to pursue this degree?
"After graduating Tufts University's undergraduate program in 2018 and completing the Tuck School of Business Bridge Program at Dartmouth College in 2019, I was interested in gaining more skills to be better prepared to work in the healthcare industry. I was aware that a Health Science campus existed in downtown Boston and was planning to ride my bike to class after work. I thought the Health Services Management and Policy concentration aligned with my interests, and the admissions staff were extremely helpful in answering questions related to the program. I was drawn mostly to the Global ALE feature of the MPH program, and Professor Marcia Boumil was especially helpful in guiding me in the right direction."
What has your experience it the online MPH program been like so far?
"I enrolled in the Spring of 2020 and have always taken night classes to balance working full-time. However, COVID disrupted in-person classes in January of that year, and most of my classes for the remainder of the program were held online. With that said, the faculty were excellent in transitioning instruction to the online setting, and the administration made every effort to accommodate students in this new landscape. I enjoyed being able to cross-register at different schools and programs that are part of Tufts (Friedman, Fletcher, Health Information Analytics, Engineering Management), and I appreciated the opportunity to take classes at different institutions and apply transfer credits towards the degree."
What is your favorite aspect about the program?
"I thought the curriculum design is great and prepares the student for a career in the healthcare industry. Core requirements, such as Evaluation, Public Health Action, Epidemiology and Policy Analysis require the student to gain experience in several different disciplines; and the autonomy to choose electives and cross-register at different schools is really a privilege. For example, I was fortunate enough to learn from Dr. Silas Pearman, whose work in adolescent health behaviors, program evaluation, and food literacy is timely research; Dr. Diane McKay, who is a Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; Dr. Megan Wulff, who is the Director of Market Oversight and Monitoring Massachusetts Health Policy Commission; Jamie Morgan, who is working to receive her PhD from Brandeis' Heller School and worked as part of Pete Buttigieg's senior staff; Dr. Ndidiamaka Amutah-Onukagha, who serves on Attorney General Campbell's Healthcare and Fair Competition Bureau sub-committee and is the founder of the MOTHER Lab; and one of my advisors was Amy Lischko, who worked in Mitt Romney's administration and has experience as the Commissioner of the Division of Healthcare Finance and Policy and the Director of Health Care Policy for the Commonwealth."
What has been your proudest accomplishment while being in the program?
"My proudest moment was seeing Fresh Connect as a payment option at a local Stop and Shop in Norwood, MA—that was really cool. I completed a healthcare evaluation exercise for Fresh Connect, a veggie prescription program, as part of Dr. Pearman's Evaluation course. I spent a semester researching the company and preparing a mock evaluation of how this program can be used at Boston Medical Center's Nutrition, Weight and Metabolism clinic to improve access to nutritious foods and decrease healthcare spending attributable to chronic disease. The idea to merge purchases on the card with EHR or claims data is a totally new way of approaching nutrition disparity—I think the people behind Fresh Connect are doing something special, and the program can be the leading solution to food insecurity in underserved populations."
What do you want a prospective student to know about Tufts?
"Expose yourself to as many new experiences and different perspectives as you can; take advantage of the environment and faculty you have access to as part of this program; thank your professors after every class and the administration for allowing you the opportunity to learn from people who are all working in different ways to help people and make things a little bit better."