December 13, 2023 | Alumni

Eugene Patron’s enthusiasm and positivity about his CUNY SLU experience shines brightly. “What I learned in the program was spot on!” he says. He received the Advanced Certificate in Leading Change in Healthcare Systems in 2022. “Each week we talked about how to apply what we were learning at work. We gained so many skills, and it was not wonky or narrow – everything had a broader social focus.”

With a background in marketing and communications at nonprofit organizations, and an MS in Urban Affairs already under his belt, Eugene was considering an MPH to bring a health care specialization to his work – as well as to use the knowledge in his personal life, as he helps coordinate care for aging relatives. He discovered the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies during his online research, and he enrolled in the program while between jobs; he started taking classes in Spring 2020.

Today, Eugene works for the Fund for Public Health in NYC as the Director of Marketing and Communications, and feels his certificate gave him an edge, especially in an environment where many people have advanced degrees.

“The focus on the social determinants of health and social justice was great – and very applicable to current society,” says Eugene Patron “So many issues contribute to health – from social issues to income. I find myself continuing to return to what we learned in the classroom and the conversations with professors and classmates.”

Eugene went back to work full time while finishing his certificate and says the ability to work while doing the program is key. “You can do this program while working – it is designed for people who are working and doing other things. Everyone at SLU wants you to succeed and they provide support and assistance. The resources, including The Writing Center, are great, and the scheduling is flexible for working people.”

Eugene also appreciated the class discussions and personal stories that brought the course work alive and added to the curriculum. “One of my classmates worked in correctional health at Rikers, there were others who managed human resources and employee wellness. There was always discussion about what we can take away each week and use at work right away.”

What would he say to potential students considering the certificate program? “It gives you an entry point for different areas within health systems and exposes you to many issues. The access to professors and visiting guests was terrific.” Illustrating his enthusiasm again, he says spiritedly: “Also, it’s CUNY! It is affordable and it’s a great NYC institution.” Eugene would know, having earned his MS at CUNY Hunter and his undergraduate degree in the CUNY and SUNY systems.

Eugene, a native New Yorker, routinely recommends SLU’s programs to colleagues and others, especially as an entry point to explore the various pieces of health systems. “It’s an especially good way for someone from outside NYC who is working here now to get to know the city landscape,” he says.