Nancy Andrade is a health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA. She is serving in the role of special assistant to the Director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Nancy received her BA in Global Studies and Spanish from Providence College in 2008 before receiving her MPA from the Maxwell School in 2011. Nancy is originally from Seekonk, MA.
The CDC is the U.S. federal government's lead public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. CDC works to protect America from health, safety and security threats. The Minneapolis Health Department is the local public health department for the City of Minneapolis in Minnesota, and its mission is to promote health equity in Minneapolis and meet the unique needs of its urban population by providing leadership and fostering partnerships.
Nancy graduated from a three-year public health management and leadership fellowship with the CDC called the Public Health Prevention Service (PHPS) Fellowship. During her first year of the PHPS fellowship, Nancy worked at the CDC headquarters in Atlanta. “My first six-month rotation was with a chronic disease prevention program and my second six-month rotation was with a policy office of a unit that works on pandemic influenza preparedness,” she says. “I also received extensive training at the CDC in the areas of epidemiology, evaluation, policy, budgeting, health communications, and leadership.”
Before her time at PHPS, Nancy worked with several non-profits in Nicaragua, Peru, and Argentina, and provided administrative support at a psychiatric hospital in Providence, RI. Nancy is also very involved with Toastmasters International, which is a world-wide non-profit organization that helps develop members' communication, public speaking, and leadership skills. Nancy currently serves as the Vice President of Public Relations for the Roller Toasters Toastmasters Club in Minneapolis. She is also a member of Leaders of Today and Tomorrow fellowship, which is a leadership development and mentorship program for young professional women in Minnesota.
“Without my year at Maxwell, I would not be where I am today. Maxwell provided me with a strong set of analytical and managerial skills, strengthened my ability to communicate and network, and broadened my worldview,” Nancy says. “My favorite courses at Maxwell included Public Administration and Democracy (PA&D), Statistics, Quantitative Analysis--these last two were not my favorite at the time, but now I see how useful they were--Child and Family Policy, and Global Health Policy. I thought PA&D provided a good foundation for our studies. Professor Duncombe was one of the most committed professors I have ever had, and I am grateful to him for easing my fear of statistics. Professor Lopoo's Child & Family Policy class and my Capstone project on a Syringe Exchange Program reaffirmed my interest in child and family issues and public health, and encouraged me to examine policy issues with a critical eye. Looking at public health data and conducting interviews for my Capstone aided me in my position with the CDC. In reviewing the male health assignment in Minneapolis, I often thought back to what I had learned about poverty, families, and males from the Child & Family Policy course.”
Nancy adds: “The strength of the Maxwell network is real, and I, like many other students, essentially got linked up to my current position through an alum. I was interested in the public health work that an alum described doing at a session during our colloquium. I had a follow-up call with her to discuss different career opportunities and she mentioned having a former colleague that had been through the PHPS program. She connected me to that colleague, who then encouraged me to apply to PHPS, and the rest is history!”
She also cites her involvement with the Maxwell Women's Caucus, and the community feel at Maxwell. “I still consider some of the friends I made at Maxwell or through Maxwell as my closest friends,” Nancy says. “Participating in Maxwell Women's Caucus events focused around themes like salary negotiation and conflict resolution and listening to how female professors have asserted themselves as female leaders has impacted how I lead, assert myself, and communicate with others.”
During her time at Maxwell, Nancy served as a work study student in the office of the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs, and also as a Research Assistant for Professor John Burdick in the Department of Anthropology. “It was nice to work in the PAIA office and get to know the staff and help answer student requests,” she says. “I also enjoyed hearing more about the work in the Department of Anthropology.”
Nancy's advice for current students pursuing work in the federal government? “Despite some of the unfortunate rhetoric out there, federal employees are doing critical work that improves people's lives on a daily basis. There are many opportunities for mentorship, growth, and development in the federal sector. Public health is a dynamic field, and though it can be hard to determine change when doing prevention work, it is making a difference!”