Student Profile: Krissy Alaniz, PhD in Community & Behavioral Health Promotion

Tell us about the research you are engaged in as a doctoral student at the Zilber College. What impact will it have on the community? What excites you most about it? 

I’m currently engaged in two main projects: 1) an evaluation of a community-developed lead poisoning outreach program on Milwaukee’s Northside, and 2) a mixed-methods investigation of multi-level influences on perinatal cannabis use. What excites me most is engaging with people directly impacted by these issues. The intended impacts are to 1) understand the current challenges/harm being perpetuated, and 2) identify solutions, building upon strengths and successes. 

What inspired you to pursue your PhD at UWM? 

I worked in public health for almost 20 years before returning to pursue a PhD. I wanted to stay in the field but was looking for a different trajectory to re-focus on my passion – evaluation and research. I chose a PhD with the hope of gaining advanced technical skills and new ways of thinking. Zilber’s commitment to health equity and social and environmental justice was appealing to me. As someone with a family, job, and other commitments, I also needed a program that worked with my schedule/life. 

What differences do you hope to make in the world with your work in public health? 

I am looking forward to the next step in my career as a community-engaged, mixed-methods evaluator/researcher. My hope is that my work will lead to 1) deeper, more compassionate, and more nuanced understanding of public health issues, and 2) direct changes to systems, policies, and practices that promote population health with a special focus on birthing people, children and youth with special healthcare needs, and families. 

What has been your favorite experience so far as a doctoral student 

One of my favorite experiences has been going on this journey with a group of fellow grad students – they are just the funniest, kindest, most supportive, insightful group of humans.