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Committed to caring for others: Drive to serve her community leads one doctor back to school

Committed to caring for others: Drive to serve her community leads one doctor back to school
Tiffany Quan, MD
Driven by her desire to serve her community, Tiffany Quan, MD, returns to school at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health to become a clinical public health practitioner.

Caring for patients with limited health care access in rural Guatemala, Tiffany Quan, MD, saved and improved lives daily. She even founded the Integral Health Program, a nonprofit clinic to deliver health services to underserved populations. Still, she felt she could do more.

“My years as a physician and medical coordinator for health programs allowed me to see that providing health care is only one part of making an individual’s quality of life better,” Tiffany says. “It is also necessary to understand and address the social determinants of health that affect a person’s life.”

While caring for patients through her clinic outside of Guatemala City, she also organized workshops to educate parents and children on how to properly care for their health and obtain other health resources.

Knowing that an understanding of public health would empower her to help her community even more, she left her clinic in 2021 to further her education at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health.

She completed a Master of Public Health with a maternal and child health certificate at the School of Public Health in summer 2023 but did not stop there. Now, she is working toward a Doctor of Public Health in community health practice.

“I want to become a clinical public health practitioner to promote maternal and childhood health care access, reduce health disparities, and address the social determinants of health for these populations,” she says. “I am very passionate about community.”

This is why, in addition to her studies, she volunteers on the board of the Guatemalan Christian Medical and Dental Association and remains a consultant for the Integral Health Program she created.

Born in Latin America to parents from Hong Kong, Tiffany understands the impact cultural and social factors have on people’s lives. She believes her public health degree will build on her personal and professional knowledge and that this additional understanding will help her improve the health of underserved populations.

She chose UTHealth Houston School of Public Health for her education because she was inspired by the faculty, who are actively engaged in helping people throughout the region. The size and diversity of Houston was also a draw, and Tiffany continues to engage with local communities in her new home. She currently works as a graduate research assistant coordinating two health programs that serve people with past chronic homelessness, as well as those at risk of experiencing housing instability.

Being an international student, however, means she is far from her family, which brings financial challenges. She credits the Susan G. Sampson Endowed Memorial Scholarship she received with making her education possible. This award provides substantial help with tuition and educational expenses.

“These resources let me concentrate solely on performing at my best academically and achieving my goal of becoming a public health practitioner,” she says. “My fundamental purpose is to bring dignity to people’s lives and generate opportunities for them to achieve their full potential.”

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