Andrew Lafrenz


Andrew Lafrenz

Andrew Lafrenz, PhD, MPH '15

Associate Professor/Director of Integrative Health & Wellness and County Epidemiologist,
University of Portland and Columbia County Public Health Department


Ask Andrew about the Oregon State MPH program.

   Ask Andrew

Why did you choose Oregon State University to pursue your MPH degree?

At the time it was the first and only accredited public health program in the state. Beyond that, it is a land-grant institution and is widely respected in the sciences.

What was your most memorable experience in the MPH Program?

Making it through H513 and really feeling like there we were all in this together for the remainder of the program.Having the core MPH courses with students from all the MPH tracks. Learning about all the amazing things that the other tracks were doing helped me realized that there were so many areas in public health that you can get into for a career.

If you were to recommend the MPH at Oregon State to a close friend, what would you tell them?

I would tell them that there are world-class faculty at one of the top Public Health programs in the country. The applied and translational public health work we did in the classroom and in the community helped prepare me for a wide-range of jobs and careers in public health.

What were the most impactful 2 or 3 courses that you took during your MPH program? Why were they impactful?

Epidemiology for Public Health Practice - This course provided the experience of working with a real state level dataset and developing an epi study from start to finish. I still use the things I learned in this course as the County Epidemiologist. All of my biostatistics courses - They allowed me to do modeling for the County throughout the pandemic that no one else could do.

What advice would you give current MPH students to get the most out of their program?

Take additional elective courses in areas outside of your track. Meet with your professors outside of class and make as many community connections as possible.

How did you maintain study-work-life balance during school, and what advice do you have in this regard to current students?

I'm the wrong person to answer this question! I was a dual enrolled PhD/MPH student and teaching full-time in Portland.

Which clubs, organizations, and/or activities would you recommend to current students?

Go to OSU athletic events! The teams are really good and great way to meet others. Check-out the recreation and trails around town as well.

What is the best part of your current job?

Associate Professor - Creating interest in public health and teaching future public health professionals. County Epidemiologist - Working on programs and projects that translate to meaningful changes in health outcomes in the communities around us.

What resources did you find most helpful during your job search?

Not sure.

What advice would you give current students as it relates to the job search?

Make as many connections as possible in the community and get to know your professors so that they can be great references.