DCHS Alum Travels the Globe with Healthcare Career

DCHS Alum Travels the Globe with Healthcare Career
Posted on 02/25/2022

DCHS Alum Travels the Globe with Healthcare Career

Gretchen Stoddard has earned multiple degrees and enjoys a rewarding career in global public health.

What is your name, which school did you attend, and what year did you graduate?
My name is Gretchen Stoddard, and I graduated from Douglas County High School in 2003.

What have you been doing since graduation?
I attended the University of Colorado Boulder and studied Spanish and pre-med. After graduation, I worked for three years at Yale University School of Medicine. I decided to return to school and earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Boston University in 2012. Since earning my MPH, I have dedicated my career to the field of global public health. In 2019, I graduated from Harvard University with a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree. I’m now a program director at the IZUMI Foundation, a Boston-based global health foundation. IZUMI Foundation supports health programs and organizations in over 30 countries in Africa and Latin America, with a focus on maternal and child health, nutrition, neglected tropical diseases, infectious diseases, and healthcare system infrastructure.

What is your proudest achievement since graduating?
Through my work, I travel to many parts of the world. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with many people across diverse cultures and environments. And, I’m proud to help bring people together across several countries to work toward a common goal of better health for all.

Share a positive memory from high school that sticks out to you.
In my senior year, my friend group decided that each week we would draw a friend’s name, and then throughout the week, we would do kind things for that person, like writing them a note, packing them a surprise lunch, or making them a small gift. One time we decided we’d make a T-shirt or buy a thrifted shirt for them to wear. It was silly, but it was wonderful to have supportive, kind friends.

What was one unique thing you learned about yourself during high school? How did your teachers and school support you?
I learned that I could nurture and pursue many interests. I loved math and science, but I also really enjoyed being creative and artistic. Through the International Baccalaureate program at DCHS, my teachers encouraged me to explore new and different ways to further my interests and my understanding of the world. My teacher’s high expectations inspired my passion for academic achievement and life-long learning.

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?
I would tell my 15-year-old self to not put too much pressure on myself, especially in high school. And to sleep more.

What skill (professional or personal) are you trying to master?
I’m not sure it’s a skill that can ever be mastered, but I am learning to be a new mom to a wonderful little girl. Becoming a parent for the first time during the pandemic has been a challenging experience, but I hope it also helps us become stronger, creative, and more resilient parents.

What are your future plans?
I will continue pursuing opportunities to improve our collective health, especially for our most vulnerable community members.

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