Convocation Spotlight: Trista Simpson

02 June 2022

On June 7, Trista Simpson will graduate with a master of public health in health promotion. Trista shared her thoughts on her decision to focus her studies on Indigenous health policy and her desire to bring system-focused change to Indigenous communities.

What achievement, accomplishment, or moment are you most proud of from your time in the program?

I am most proud of the practicum placement I was in, hosted by a northern First Nation with their health unit. Working collaboratively with a team of health professionals, I developed a culturally informed harm reduction framework. 

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

Learning remotely during the pandemic was the biggest challenge. I was fortunate to have supportive professors and peers that made a huge impact on my success.

What initially drew you to this area of study?

My interest in the program was inspired by my work with Alberta Health in the area of Indigenous health policy. I could recognize the value of prevention-based health care approaches based on the discussions we were having with the community; that was a key driver in my decision to focus my studies in the health promotion field.

What lessons will you take from pursuing a degree during the pandemic?

The biggest lesson was being flexible and learning how to leverage technology to facilitate communication and group work.

What comes next on your career journey?

My career has always been focused on working with Indigenous communities. I can see myself working in the policy space as a voice to influence system-level changes and bridging jurisdictional gaps that impact streamlined health care service and delivery.

What advice would you give to a student thinking of entering your program of study/specialization?

I found that working in the space of public health before starting the program helped me connect the theory to applied practice and provided a more in-depth understanding of how to navigate public health challenges.