I got into public health because I wanted to, in a sense, save the world,’ says Kia Bolden, who earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences from IU South Bend in May 2020. Right after graduation, Kia was hired by the Indiana Department of Health as a contract tracer over the summer, giving her the opportunity to work with Hoosiers affected by COVID-19 on a personal level. In addition to conducting investigations to determine the source of exposure, Kia would also work with people to ensure they had the necessary knowledge and resources to reduce community spread of the virus and be able to isolate themselves.
This valuable experience led Kia to achieve a long-held ambition: landing a job with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation. I always dreamed of one day working for the CDC but never thought it would really come true, explains Kia. Currently Kia is a communicable disease investigator, compiling and reviewing data from COVID-19 cases in Indiana.
Her experiences interacting with people with COVID-19, as well as handling data reinforced her desire to promote ways in which people could protect themselves and their communities from the virus. I work in the field and I see the data, says Kia. Therefore, when she was approached with the opportunity to take part in a public health service initiative with the 100 Black Men of Greater South Bend, she was immediately onboard.
Kia participated in the filming of a public service announcement video focused on how minorities, who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, can keep themselves and their communities safe. Versions of the PSA video can be viewed here.
I loved the chance to do something like this to show people this is real and to encourage them to get the vaccine as soon as they can to save lives. Being part of the campaign makes me feel really good that I’m giving back to my community.
In addition to her work for the CDC Foundation, Kia attends graduate school at IUPUI, pursuing her Master of Public Affairs in Health System Administration & Policy. She also earned her Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) designation this past fall and is currently working on creating a consultation business, with the aim of decreasing disparities in health education.