Massena woman grateful for SUNY Potsdam health program
Monday, September 20, 2010 - 11:24 am


To the Editor:

What is community health? This is the question I asked myself two years ago before I decided to return to college. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to remain in the health care profession.

When I called SUNY Potsdam they put me in touch with a very enthusiastic Diane Billings, the secretary of the Community Health Department and she strongly encouraged me to come and talk to the faculty. I am so glad I did. This is a very unique profession that encompasses multiple avenues of health. It looks at healthcare on a larger “community” level and the career opportunities are endless. Several of my classmates have found positions in Planned Parenthood and The Community Action Planning Council. This is not an easy program and the instructors are demanding, but I think that is what I liked the most about the program.

The faculty members of this department are like no others that I have met. It is through their kindness, encouragement, and passion for their work that allowed me the courage to go back to school and although I wanted to inform the public about this exciting field, I also want to express my sincere gratitude to this wonderful group of people who dedicate their lives to help students like myself to follow their dreams. Although I am saddened by the fact that I will not have daily interaction with my professors I know they have taught me how to fly on my own and be successful.

This has been a long journey and the road has not always been smooth, but these professors and I hope I may now call them my friends, have always challenged me and supported my somewhat unconventional methods for learning.

There are few people in life that have a significant impact on a person, but each and every one of these professors has done that for me. Professor Maureen McCarthy, Professor Kelly Bonner-Kidd, Professor Kathleen O’Rourke, Professor Sharon Dejoy, Professor Ada Santafara, Professor Richard Merchant, and Diane Billings, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness and compassion and for just plain putting up with me. I must also mention Professor Donald Borsh, I have used your yoga techniques many, many times to relieve stress during finals weeks so than you as well for that. Finally, Sean Partridge in CSTEP. I cannot even begin to thank you for all your hard work and kindness you have shown me. Within this department, you are not merely a student or a “P’ number, you truly are part of a family. I will greatly miss you.

Tina M. Runkles