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Carolyn Porta


Sitting at my laptop allowing SPH memories to flood my mind, I realize it is impossible to capture how critical SPH has been to my development, capabilities, and contributions to health and well-being.

From my first research assistant experience with Dr. Ann Garwick, entering copious articles into an excel spreadsheet (before mendeley!), to sitting in Dean Finnegan’s intro to media communication course (before he was Dean!), I can look back and recall so many ways I was educated, mentored, and challenged.
Educated about the complex interplay of risk and protective factors for individuals, communities, and societies. Mentored in what it meant to be a public health professional, and nurse, and to be part of the solution. Challenged to look beyond all the reasons why a policy or intervention wouldn’t work, to listen to community partners, and to act alongside others to advance and test new ways of promoting health and reducing risk.

Somewhere along the way, and with amazing SPH faculty — Dr. Sue Gerberich, Dr. Deb Olson, Dr. Pat McGovern, Dr. Wendy Hellerstedt, Dr. Joan Patterson and so many others — I moved from student to faculty and colleague, contributing to the advancement of solutions through science, and to preparing young new public health professionals to enter the workforce equipped to educate, intervene, and drive policy changes.

I would not be who I am if not for numerous influences, but among those one of the most important has been SPH.

Maternal & Child Health MPH '97, Environmental Health MS '00

Carolyn Porta lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She has a passion for public health, specifically to promote a world free of sexual violence and where every human being lives in safety and well-being. In her free time she enjoys playing board games with her 17 year-old daughter and 14 year-old son or reading a book in her hammock.  

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