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Charissa Rivers, MPH
Program Consultant, Program Services Branch

Charissa Rivers, MPH

Please give a short description of your branch or office and describe your work there.

The Program Services Branch (PSB) of DCPC works in collaboration with states, tribes, territories, universities, and national partners to increase recommended screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer, especially among those who are low income and uninsured, newly insured, or under-insured. Our two signature programs, the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and the Colorectal Cancer Control Program, provide a rich infrastructure of public health practitioners, health care providers, health systems partners, and cancer screening experts across the country to accomplish this goal. PSB focuses on achieving higher cancer screening rates in the U.S. using approaches and interventions that benefit the public as well as by providing direct screening services.

Briefly describe some of your recent work. Why is this focus or topic interesting to you?

Recently, I was deployed to Puerto Rico to assist with the Hurricane Maria disaster recovery efforts. I had the opportunity to work closely with staff at the Puerto Rico Department of Health’s Environmental and Public Health Laboratory to help restore their public health infrastructure, including their clinic, lab, vaccination, and immunization services. It is my hope that my small role will enable Puerto Rico to rebuild and thrive once again.

Response and recovery work appeals to me because I am a helper by nature. When I learned of the many needs of the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, I wanted to help in whatever capacity I could. Our colleagues who work full-time in response and recovery, work long hours and perform grueling tasks. They need intervals for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation and I was able to help them enjoy a bit of that.

Why did you choose to go into public health?

I believe people can only reach their greatest potential and prosper when they are in good health. I wanted work in a profession where I can focus on helping people achieve that goal.

What are some goals or hopes you have for your work in the future?

My current goals are to focus on excelling as a program consultant and advancing the work of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and the Colorectal Cancer Control Program. I want to help our awardees to implement solid practices for their populations, and hopefully soon, reach a level where their innovative and effective strategies can be expanded to different populations.