Alumni Profile – Mecca Chenier, MPAS, MPH, PA-C

May 30, 2019 • Uncategorized

By Sally Crocker

MeecaCurrently working as Physician Assistant for Parkland Health and Hospital System – Correctional Health, Dallas.

In this position, Chenier provides medical services to incarcerated youth, offering education and encouragement “to an often forgotten, dismissed population,” she says. “To have the greatest impact on these youth, I must recognize the social determinants of health that affect this population and ensure continuity of care is maintained.”

Prior to assuming her current role, she served for two years as Physician Assistant for Parkland’s Global Diabetes program, and before becoming a PA, Chenier held various roles related to medical disability determination with the Social Security Disability program and Cigna insurance.

In addition to her UNTHSC MPH-Professional Option degree (’19), she holds a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) degree, a BS in Physician Assistant Studies, a BS in General Studies (Biology concentration), and an Associate of Applied Science degree.

“The UNTHSC MPH program gave me a broader understanding of how to impact health and well-being in the community I serve,” she says. “With a heightened awareness of public policy, biostatistics and research, social determinants of health, and the role of public health agencies on a local and national level, I am empowered to expand my work within the community to involve more than individual medical care.”

Chenier says she was drawn to UNTHSC because of its reputation for being “a close-knit atmosphere with intelligent yet down-to-earth instructors.”

“Being a busy wife and mother and working full-time as a PA, I really appreciated the opportunity to complete most courses online,” she says. “When I decided to pursue a career in medicine, I wanted to ultimately work within an underserved community.  Obtaining a graduate degree in public health has helped me further understand how to enhance my impact on health and well-being within the Dallas community.”

Chenier cites the faculty’s passion as the foundation for a meaningful UNTHSC experience. “Every course I completed in this program was led by dedicated, knowledgeable and helpful instructors that poured their love for what they do into their lessons,” she says.

Her advice for current students? “During your coursework, take the opportunity to network with your peers and public health officials within your community.  Use the public health internship to your advantage and work with an organization that you can envision partnering with in the future.”

In May 2019, the UNTHSC MPH-Professional Option program celebrated a milestone, marking the graduation of more than 100 alumni since its beginning in 2012. The program was the first in Texas to offer an MPH degree option completely online.