Pandemic presents opportunity for optometrist to pursue career in public health

Jim Matthews spent 27 years as an optometrist. Now a graduate of the Master of Public Health in Health Services Policy and Management program, he is looking forward to a career in health policy.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, he led his own clinical practice in North and South Carolina.

“I had to close my optometric practice initially, and because of all the unknowns, I decided to make that a permanent decision,” says Matthews. “After two weeks of watching Netflix, I got an email advertising a remote MPH degree, and I started thinking about how I could use the pandemic as an opportunity to get that degree finally.”

During his time in the program, he completed his practicum supporting SC Eat Smart Move More Policy and Advocacy Manager Phil Ford to advocate legislative bills removing penalties for student lunch debt. 

Ultimately, he would like to work with an agency or group that analyzes and writes about the U.S. health care system.

Read the full story, written by Erin Bluvas, on the Arnold School of Public Health website.

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