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Raffaella Espinoza

Analytics and Dissemination Manager,
Center for Health Statistics
4 years of service

Got any favorite quotes?

“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that’s wrong with the world”- Paul Farmer


How did you start working in Public Health?

After attaining a degree in anthropology, I enrolled in the University of Oklahoma’s Master in Public Health program with a concentration in epidemiology. While in the MPH program, I assisted within the OSDH Communicable Disease Division in describing the Oklahoma tick-borne disease epidemiology as part of my practicum. Upon my graduation in 2006, I accepted a one-year fellowship with the American Schools of Public Health (ASPH) with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Division of Tuberculosis Elimination.

Can you share a few highlights of your experience in public health? What is the most rewarding part of your work?

Within the ASPH fellowship with the CDC- Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, I worked with the program evaluation team to help develop technical assistance materials for TB program evaluation. The fellowship not only allowed me to build on evaluation skills from technical experts, but it also allowed me to interact with TB programs nationwide and gain a practical public health experience at a national level.

In your role, how do you educate people about public health?

We, the center for health statistics, get many inquiries from the community and from internal OSDH programs about health data: what are the trends, what do the statistics mean, what is the impact etc. This is always an opportunity to educate people about the importance of health data and how it drives decision making in public health policy and planning.

What is the most difficult part of your job?

Keeping up with current research and practices, trying to determine which is applicable and most beneficial, while being cost effective.

What is the most rewarding experience you have had in public health?

To be entrusted with important health data, and ensuring that it is being utilized responsibly for the good of improving the health of Oklahomans. It is very rewarding just to know that all we do in our work is for the bettering of public health in Oklahoma.

If someone was interested in a public health career (or one in your field), what advice or encouragement would you give them?

A career in public health is never boring. There are consistently new approaches and research. It’s very easy to get bogged down by the statistics and numbers, so it’s important to remember that we are dealing with people and the community- not numbers.

Who inspires you?

People who break through the mold and develop innovative approaches to disease prevention and control.

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