My work colleague, at a recent retirement gathering to celebrate his 32 years at the state health department, reflected that he had no great plan that resulted in him standing in front of us that day. As a college undergraduate, he was majoring in microbiology at an Ohio university when he needed a single credit to complete graduation requirements. He selected a course with the word epidemiology in it but had no idea what the course was. He became so smitten with the subject that he went on to pursue a doctorate in epidemiology in his native Philadelphia. He then set out to look for a job, saw an opening at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, interviewed, and landed the job in a city and region he knew little about.
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