Name: Vu-An Foster
Program (Degree and Major): Master of Public Health concentration in Health Systems Administration and Policy
Graduation Date/Expected Graduation Date: May 2022
Please tell us about your plans post-graduation.
While completing a Master of Public Health Degree at Montclair State University, I turned my emerging organization Life After 2 Losses into a nonprofit. Our mission is twofold:
- To support women, families, and communities coping with pregnancy loss.
- To empower women, families, and communities with effective ways to prevent pregnancy loss.
After graduation, I plan to build a sustainable nonprofit where I will continue to be committed to promoting policy development regarding infant and maternal mortality while addressing other racial disparities that disproportionately affect women of color regarding health equity, implicit bias, and structural racism through Life After 2 Losses. The pandemic highlighted the importance of creating employment opportunities that support working moms. So, in addition to being a change agent, Life After 2 Losses plans to create workplace diversity for future employees.
What were the best parts of your program?
The best part of my program was being able to apply the material taught to my area of interest. MSU has prepared me to be a culturally and professionally competent leader focusing on prevention, social justice, and health equity by giving me the skills needed to spreads awareness and addresses the maternal and child health crisis affecting women and communities of color in the United States and around the world.
What was your favorite class or experience in the program, and why was that so important to you?
If I had to pick one class that was my favorite, it would be Dr. Silvera’s Structures of Inequality in Public Health. Before, I would struggle with using my voice to discuss topics like race, racism, and health disparities in specific settings and with certain audiences. This class taught me the importance of addressing uncomfortable issues, as not talking about them doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Why did you choose this field of study? Why did you choose the program at Montclair State University?
After experiencing two painful preventable pregnancy losses due to structural racism and implicit bias, I was determined to make a difference and improve maternal-child health outcomes. If I was going to promote policy development regarding infant and mortality while addressing other racial disparities that disproportionately affect women and babies of color, I needed to pursue a Master of Public Health degree focusing on Health Systems Administration and Policy.
After attending the information session at MSU and hearing the students’ testimonies, I knew this program was the right fit. The students shared how they were supported and encouraged, and I knew if I attended MSU, I would be too and not just a student number.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your program, the College of Education & Human Services, or Montclair State University that we haven’t asked about?
I want to thank the Chair of the Public Health Department and all the professors that I have come in contact with. In and out of the classroom, I have learned a great deal from them, and l plan to take these lessons with me. If I had one thing to leave with, as I know they will, I would tell them to continue supporting and encouraging their students as they are tasked with birthing future leaders. It makes a world of difference! It did for me and my experience here at MSU!