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Challenging the status quo through engagement, hard work and passion

Nicolas St Cloud

Nicolas St Cloud, a perpetual “people person,” immersed himself in campus upon arriving at Rollins School of Public Health.

For the last two years, Nicolas St Cloud has kept in constant motion. Upon arriving at Rollins School of Public Health to pursue a Master of Public Health in Health Care Management, the perpetual “people person” immersed himself in activities on and off-campus that aligned with his interests and enabled him to make tangible impacts on campus and his career trajectory. As he prepares to graduate and move across the country to San Francisco, St Cloud sat down with Rollins to discuss his public health journey, his passion for initiating change and the path ahead. 

What initially attracted you to public health?

I always wanted to work in health care, and health care is so broad, so I used my undergrad experience in health, science, society and policy at Brandeis University to narrow down my interests. My experiences there included working in the health care adminstration unit of a hospital in Ghana and taking classes in mental health and maternal health. I knew that I wanted to improve the overall patient experience, so I became interested in public health.

Why did you decide to come to Rollins?

I’m from Atlanta, so the location was appealing, especially after attending undergrad in Boston, where it gets so cold! I was also motivated by seeing high levels of Rollins alumni engagement and ties to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When you think about your time at Rollins, what experiences stand out the most?

I loved the community-building aspects of Rollins’ Convos on Tap and connecting with faculty, students and alumni through service on various committees at the school. I was communications chair for the Association of Black Public Health Students and was one of the student representatives for the DEI committee in the Department of Health Policy and Management.

[Through the latter] I got to help plan town hall meetings that occurred with students last year as well as hold a lunch and learn, which the department had not done before. I also had the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant, which allowed me to take on a mentorship role. 

Did you do any work outside of the university while you were a student? 

I worked as a project coordinator at Morehouse School of Medicine on a project focused on improving mental health, specifically in Haitian communities [a group with which St Cloud identifies], both in Atlanta and Miami. My participation in that project spanned my entire first year as well as last semester. I was responsible for guiding and assisting with the training for students who were being trained to become community health workers. 

You’re so busy! What motivated you to get so involved while also balancing your coursework? 

To me, the true student experience is not just about going to class. It’s also about being engaged outside of the curriculum, really reaching out and meeting people, attending events and being active on campus. 

I am also very passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion, which is a great segue into my Rollins’ applied practice experience at Oregon Health and Science University Hospital, which was a great match. I was working in the radiology department on a project focused on employee engagement and retention as well as overseeing equity and inclusion.

What was the topic of your thesis or capstone?

I did a capstone project and presentation with several other students that focused on clinical workforce shortages. We looked specifically at nursing staff shortages across one of the biggest hospital operators, HCA Healthcare. 

What’s next?

I'll be working for UCSF Health as an administrative fellow. It’s a two-year, project-based fellowship. I'll be working closely with different senior leaders across the hospital on areas such as strategy, human resources, operations, finance and patient experience. I'm really looking forward to that. I think that opportunity will help me narrow down my interest even more.

And longer term?

I’m very passionate about seeing more diversity represented across health care organizations, especially when it comes to leadership. So, I would love to lean in on human resources during my time at my fellowship, because my ultimate goal is to work in executive search consulting and be able to seek out leaders for different organizations, including hospitals.

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