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Public health graduate student receives distinguished award

November 18, 2016

Amar Pandya, Master of Public Health/Master of Business Administration graduate studentLisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University student Amar Pandya was awarded the Illinois Public Health Association’s (IPHA) Distinguished Public Health Student Award during their 75th Annual Meeting on September 14. Pandya is a Master of Public Health/Master of Business Administration (M.P.H./M.B.A.) graduate student. He was the only student selected statewide by the IPHA Executive Board. The award recognizes an individual or group of public health students who make an outstanding contribution of major significance to the public health movement through community service.

Pandya, who is from Aurora, Ill. and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Finance from DePaul University, began his graduate studies at Benedictine in March 2015. He participated in organizations outside of class in spite of taking a full course load. He was the president of the M.P.H. Student Advisory Panel (SAP) at BenU for the 2015-2016 academic year where he led the panel in conducting 27 events throughout the academic year – the highest number of events ever held by the panel. In addition to leading the internship orientations and career development webinar events, Pandya helped students learn about the different career options available in the public health field.

Elizabeth Bormann, an instructor in the M.P.H. department at Benedictine University, nominated Pandya after seeing his high work ethic in her Environmental Health class.

“He immediately stood out from his peers due to his active participation in class discussions, insightful ideas and ability to lead his peers in small group discussions,” Bormann wrote in her nomination letter to the IPHA awards committee. “Amar continues to demonstrate his dedication and drive as a student by maintaining a perfect grade point average, 4.0 out of a 4.0 scale, in all his studies.”

He has also participated in research projects that contributed to the M.P.H. program. He assisted Bormann with a health assessment of a local church. This intensive project meant committing several weekends to help staff an informational table at the church to recruit members to complete the evaluation. He also contributed to research supporting the continued funding of the Illinois Breast Cancer and Cervical program. He will present the results of the health assessment and survey to the church council this fall.

Pandya also applied and received an internship with Advocate Health Care to gain even more experience in the health administration and health policy field. He completed hand-washing audits and other quality improvement projects in the department. He also met with members of the administration for informal interviews and to learn even more about the field.

“I consider those who work in public health as ’called’ to the field and Amar is an exemplary example of a ‘called’ public health professional,” Bormann wrote. “He goes above and beyond what is expected and I know he will continue to do so when out in the field.”

To learn more about Benedictine University and its highly ranked M.P.H. program, visit


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the ninth consecutive year in 2019. Benedictine University was also named the second-safest campus in the country and safest campus in Illinois by in 2019. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. For more information about the University, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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