Nate Peterson

Growing up 10 minutes away from Flint, Michigan State University Master of Public Health (MPH) student Nate Peterson feels a personal connection to the city. His interest in using interdisciplinary interventions to contribute to a community’s well-being and desire to see Flint thrive fuels his passion for public health.

In this Q&A, Nate shares his experience as both a Flint Registry team member and MPH student.

What is your role at the Flint Registry?
As a dedicated Referral Team Member of the Flint Registry, I've been instrumental in improving the health outcomes of our participants. My role extends beyond the 1,683 referrals I have completed. I actively contribute to developing Mental Health Resource Guides and Standard Operating Procedures and engage with the community. Recently, I've been assisting the Director of Research and Evaluation with analyzing and evaluating Flint Registry data, further enhancing our understanding of our community's health needs.

What inspired you to pursue a Master of Public Health?
My decision to pursue a public health degree is not just a career choice but a deeply personal commitment. I've witnessed firsthand how inequities in health resources can significantly impact an individual’s health outcome.

Throughout my time as a team member of the Flint Registry, I have heard many anecdotal stories and seen the data on how our practices are helping improve the health outcomes of Flint residents. This has ignited a fire within me, a passion for working towards a future where everyone has equal access to quality healthcare regardless of their background.

I am fascinated and deeply interested in the public health implications resulting from revitalizing and restoring cities and how they can function as a catalyst for improving community health outcomes. I am interested in how evidence-based, community-based, and interdisciplinary interventions can foster vibrant and resilient communities where health and economic prosperity thrive hand in hand.

What professional or educational accomplishment are you most proud of?
I would say that I am most proud of the opportunities to present poster presentations I have been working on. I have presented at the Healthy Flint Research Coordinating Center Research Symposium, Great Lakes Pediatric Research Day, and will attend the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research Conference in Austin, Texas, in June. Not only have these conferences allowed me a fantastic opportunity to display the skills I have gained from the MPH program, but they have also allowed me to disseminate the fantastic work being done within the Flint Registry.

How do you plan on making a difference post-graduation?
Post-graduation, I envision myself as a catalyst for change in the communities I collaborate with. My approach will focus on active listening, fostering relationships, and implementing strategies to improve health outcomes. I firmly believe that knowledge is power, and I'm committed to sharing the insights and skills I've gained from this program with the communities I serve. My ultimate goal is to empower not just the residents of Flint but also other communities I'll work with throughout my career. I aspire to lead initiatives that address health disparities, promote health equity, and contribute to the overall well-being of communities.

What advice do you have for new MPH students?
Take every opportunity because you never know if one opportunity or conversation will change your life. If I hadn’t had conversations with my undergraduate advisor and a mentor, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. Also, find your passion and identify the aspects of public health that inspire and motivate you the most. Identifying those aspects and pursuing your passion will increase your overall drive and enthusiasm toward the field of public health.

What do you like to do outside of work and school?
I love hiking, traveling, attending concerts, fishing, reading historical books about various communities, gardening, doing DIY projects, spending quality time with my fiancée, and walking our dog, Bella.


May 7, 2024