Dylaney Bouwman (GPH ’18)
Special Assistant to the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services at the Office of the Mayor of New York City
What that means:
The overall mission of our office is to support and advance the health of all New Yorkers—where they live, where they work, where they play, pray, and learn. My role is to directly support the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services while working with our chief of staff to manage the team's daily operations—which includes everything from scheduling and staffing for external press events to creating daily briefing books. Now that the Deputy Mayor role is currently vacant, I’ve also had time to dive deeper into policy work, specifically around food policy, which is one of my interests.
No “typical day”:
The pace here is very fast. We might spend an evening putting briefings together for meetings the next day, only to come in the next morning to find that an emergency happened overnight—whether it be a blackout or some sort of an accident that needs a rapid response. I’ve learned to triage priorities.
Best part of the job:
A couple of months ago, when the Department of Homeless Services opened a family shelter, Lily from Sesame Street came to visit the children there. Another favorite recent project was opening an LGBTQ+ clinic at NYC Health + Hospitals. It is always most rewarding to get to see the direct impact of our work on the community.
How I got here:
As an undergrad at Florida State University, I majored in food and nutrition science, and was interested in doing clinical work. I’ve always been interested in health care, and in food and how it impacts our wellbeing. But when I started to understand the scale of the health problems in this country, I felt that working one-on-one wouldn’t be as effective as working at the population level. So I decided to get my master’s of public health at NYU. And while I was working on my degree I worked full-time at NYU Langone, doing research on preventing obesity and chronic disease in veterans, which taught me a lot of basic science. At that point I thought I might stay in academia. It wasn’t until six months or so after graduating that I decided to take a leap into health care policy.
I truly miss 24-hour access to Bobst Library. It sounds funny, but there are very few spots in New York City where you can have a few hours of calm, peace, and quiet.
I also miss the endless opportunities that you have for career development, whether it’s guest lecturers or going to workshops and those kinds of resources that you don't really have access to in the real world.
Advice for students in a similar field:
Public health offers such a wide array of career paths, so be open to new opportunities and different sectors of health. Where you end up working might not necessarily be exactly what you studied or thought you were initially interested in. I also think it’s good to cultivate relationships with your peers, especially in grad school. A lot of people that you're in class with now are going to be your industry leaders of tomorrow.
Alumni @ Work
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