New Jersey native Taryn Farrell was studying biological sciences at Rowan University when she discovered her passion
for public health. She spent three of her undergraduate years working as a patient
service representative at Cooper University Health Care, which included the height
of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This setting gave her firsthand knowledge of the barriers to quality health care.
It also led Farrell to become familiar with different health care administration models
and witness the expansion of primary care services.
“There has been a drastic shift in the reliance on primary care providers for psychiatric
care and counseling services,” Farrell says. “My time in this role not only gave me
the opportunity to observe clinical practice for the treatment of a wide range of
conditions across various patient demographics, but it also allowed me to better understand
the barriers many individuals face to the accessibility and affordability of mental
On campus, Farrell’s coursework bolstered her interest in the interactions of biological,
psychological, genetic and social factors and their effects on overall health. She
began looking at graduate programs to further her knowledge in applied clinical research
and coordinated public health efforts.
“I knew this program would be an excellent fit not only because of the amazing faculty,
staff and student body as well as the research occurring within the department, but
because I was confident about the support provided before my program even began was
something that would be emulated throughout my time here,” Farrell says.
Since she enrolled in 2022, Farrell has gained experience with the LiveWell Kershaw
Coalition – first as a graduate assistant and then as the lead project coordinator.
Working with then-director and two-time Arnold School alumna Kathryn Lane (MPH in
HSPM ’16; B.A. in Public Health ’15), Farrell found inspiration for her own public
health career. This fall, she's begun her program's practice experience at the South
Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health.
Consistent with her first impressions of her new home, USC and the surrounding area
has surpassed her expectations. She found connections everywhere she looked – from
her peers navigating similar life transitions to the areas she served.
“The thing I love about Columbia and the USC community is that there truly is something
for everyone,” Farrell says. “Columbia is a vibrant city with so much to offer, and
the peers I have met along my journey at USC have always been eager and willing to
share the things they love most about Columbia.”
After graduating in 2024, she says she will continue advancing public health research
and working to bridge gaps between science and the community by advocating for evidence-based
public policies and systems-level changes to further develop integrative models in
both clinical and health care administration settings. She'll do this work using a
patient-centered, health equity lens. Farrell credits her academic courses, professional
experiences and mentors for preparing her for this role.
“I look to the HSPM faculty and my graduate assistantship team with immense gratitude,”
Farrell says of Kenison, Crouch, Jenkins, Lane and other mentors, including clinical
associate professor of epidemiology Myriam Torres. “The core competencies embedded within the program instilled me with confidence
needed to continue my public health journey, but it is the countless hours of support
and mentorship from the department that will best help me achieve my professional
and personal goals once I graduate.”