Featured Alumna: Allison Swart
Allison Swart graduated with her B.S. in exercise and sport science in 2005 and earned her Master of Public Health in 2013. Upon graduating in 2005, Allison began working at ViQuest Wellness Center as the coordinator for the youth weight management programs.
In her position at ViQuest, Allison saw first-hand families learning how to – and struggling to – make healthy choices. While Allison saw some successes, this is when she realized just knowing what to do is not enough. Allison realized then that our environment influences our ability to follow through with healthy decisions.
Allison’s experience at ViQuest led to her interest in the more global concepts of policy, systems and environmental change strategies to promote health. She earned her MPH and now serves as the health promotion coordinator for the Pitt County Health Department. In her role, Allison focuses on chronic disease prevention and management including projects addressing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obesity as well as the county employee wellness program.
Allison tells us, “This past year has by far been the most interesting. In March 2020, health department staff quickly shifted from typical responsibilities to COVID-19 pandemic response, including the Pitt County Health Department COVID Hotline. My counterpart and I began overseeing the operations of the hotline. The hotline fields calls from the community, answering COVID-19 related questions ranging from quarantine and isolation to testing and vaccination. Working in public health during a pandemic has been a humbling learning experience. I have had experiences and learned lessons that will remain with me for the rest of my career.”
“ECU is in my blood. It is where I always knew I would go to college. I have a distinct memory of being about 6 years old and my aunt explaining to me that we are all Tarheels because we live in the Tarheel State. I disagreed adamantly, ‘I am NOT a Tarheel. I AM A PIRATE.’,” Allison says.
Allison’s advice for future students? “Listen and learn. Find mentors and learn from them. Experience is invaluable. Learn all you can from people who have experience. Your education is your foundation. Your experience builds the walls.”