Improving health care: Q&A with Demetria Thompson

Commencement 2015

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College of Public Health and Human Sciences student Demetria Thompson will graduate in June with a degree in Public Health, Health Management and Policy. After a brief stint traveling the world, she plans to return to the United States to work in the health care field, ensuring improved, quality care to patients. She later plans to earn a master’s degree.


Why did you choose to attend Oregon State?

“I had visited OSU several times throughout high school and immediately fell in love with the campus. Beyond that, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in some aspect of health care and had heard great things about the university’s public health program.”

demetria-thompson-Synergies2What inspired your career path?

“Growing up in a family of public school teachers and administrators, I was inspired to pursue a career that was focused on others. Interestingly, it really wasn’t until I began experiencing my own health issues that I discovered my niche. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to be an element of change in health care that is focused on finding solutions.”

Why is providing quality care to everyone important to you?

“Once I began my coursework in public health, I became aware of the varied levels of care that people receive. I found myself questioning that – especially once I started looking more closely at policy and law. Everyone wants to feel like they’re receiving the best care possible, and I believe that as health care professionals, we must work to ensure that we accomplish that.”

“Growing up in a family of public school teachers and administrators, I was inspired to pursue a career that was focused on others.”

Briefly describe your experience in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

“I might be a little biased, but I truly believe the CPHHS has some of the best professors and mentors within the university. My instructors have been passionate about what they have taught, and I feel that they care greatly about their students. It has also been interesting to study public health and public health policies during these past few years, as it has been a time of great change within our national health care system.”

During your senior year, you served as president of the Society of Healthcare Executives student club. Describe your experience in the club.

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Demetria (third from left) served as president of the Oregon State Society of Healthcare Executives during her senior year at Oregon State.

“Serving as president of the Society of Healthcare Executives was an extremely rewarding experience. I learned a lot about myself and feel that I have grown as a leader. Through experiences within the club, I’ve had to develop my leadership skills, which has made me more confident as I enter the health care field and pursue a career. It was also a real pleasure to have worked as part of a leadership team so full of talented individuals who were also dedicated to improving the club.”

You’re graduating in June with a degree in Public Health, Health Management and Policy. How do you plan to use your degree to help others?

“I think earning a degree in Public Health is unique in that there is a tremendous amount of versatility in the degree itself. Personally, I am more drawn to policy, law, analysis and quality improvement. I feel that focusing on these areas will have a huge impact on the health care that others receive.”

“Through experiences within the club, I’ve had to develop my leadership skills, which has made me more confident as I enter the health care field and pursue a career.”

What are your plans for after graduation? 

“Post-graduation, I plan on checking a few items off my bucket list. I’m planning a trip to New Zealand in June for a few weeks and then I’m eager to begin my new career. I am also hoping to return to school to begin work toward earning a master’s degree in the near future.”

What advice would you give to current or future students?

“My advice is to take time to cultivate meaningful relationships. I feel that building relationships both professionally and personally is essential to personal growth. Often, I think we tend to get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget about those around us. You never know how much a genuine conversation, compliment or even smile can impact others.”

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