Greetings and Welcome!
My name is Cassandra Rene and I am a proud first generation Haitian-American, born and raised in Miami, FL. I am a current doctoral student at Florida International University studying Public Health with a concentration in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. My research interests are in HIV/AIDS, sexual health, and health disparities among the Haitian community. I hold a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Florida and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Miami, BUT I am still a Gator Girl. GoGators!!
Soon after obtaining my degree from the University of Florida I worked as an HIV Prevention Associate at WellFlorida Council in Gainesville, FL. It was in this role I started to see how the public health issue that is HIV affects minority groups in such distinctive ways. You start to see how a group’s “knowledge, attitude, beliefs and practices” affect how they perceive things such as getting tested, contraceptive use, and their perceived risk in contracting the virus. This experience truly peaked my interest in Public Health.
I then left WellFlorida Council shortly after to moved back to Miami in order to pursue my MPH degree from the University of Miami. And when I came back to Miami I was taken back by some of the “evident” public health issues that of course I never really noticed during my adolescence. Most of it was health disparities that affected the African American and the Haitian community. Since then I’ve always wondered, why? Why are my Haitian people falling under the radar? Just like that, this was the question I planned to dedicate my academic career to answer.
I decided to name this blog Lekòl ak Lavi (school and life) because 1) since I’m Haitian, why not write it in creole? 2) my whole life has been about school and everything in between lol
So I hope what I share can help you, even if a little bit, as you follow me on my academic and personal journey.