Vinh Trinh, MPH 2022

After graduating from John Carroll University with a biology degree, Vinh Trinh knew his career aspirations. Vinh wanted to become an epidemiologist. In his undergraduate studies, he was introduced to the public health world, where he explored subject areas such as environmental health, equity, social justice, and a subject that caught his interest was epidemiology. Vinh had the desire to further his education and training to reach his goal of becoming an epidemiologist. Fortunately, not too far from his hometown of Brunswick, Ohio is one of the top ranked universities in the United States, CWRU.

Vinh graduated in 2022 with his Master's in Public Health. He also completed the MPH Intensive Research Pathway along with having a concentration in population health research. He strongly believes that CWRU prepared him for his career. Vinh explained that CWRU provided him with technical skills such as learning how to program and a strong understanding of the principles of epidemiology, data science and research methods. The MPH Intensive Research Pathway allowed him to have a deeper understanding of biostatistics which has proved beneficial in his job. The core curriculum of the MPH program included context to the health issues themselves while also learning more about pressing health issues at the time, for example, the Zika virus. 

Outside of the classroom, his practicum was with a non-profit that provided him with experience in data management and taught him the importance of making data accessible to the general public. Vinh was also involved in tobacco research and youth risk behavior surveillance study data collection at Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods. This gave him a chance to learn more about data collection and have hands-on experience with data management and research.

Currently, Vinh is an Epidemiologist at the Cleveland Department of Public Health. His main responsibilities and subject areas are infectious diseases, HIV, STIs, and environmental health such as lead poisoning. Another responsibility Vinh has is informatics and building processes around managing, storing, and visualizing data. One thing that inspired Vinh to become an epidemiologist is that epidemiology is the pathway that data gets turned into useful information for others to use to then make health improvements. The impact of Vinh’s work is that it enables policymakers and program managers to make actionable steps to address health inequities and pressing health issues. 

Some advice he would give to students who are interested in this field is that they should not get discouraged if they aren’t the best programmer since it is important to learn data science. It is essential to know how to handle and manage data in reproducible ways for others to understand it. Vinh finds that in his career to be successful you must always be willing to learn new information and listen to others. Although Vinh is a recent graduate his long-term career goals are to continue improving his skills in health informatics at a local health level. In the future, he can see himself as a health commissioner, health director, or chief epidemiologist. During his leisure time, Vinh enjoys going to cocktail lounges such as Cloak and Dagger and the Velvet Tango Room.