After high school, David Robertson joined the US Army, where he served as a Combat Medic for 13 years in Texas, Kentucky, South Carolina and twice in Germany. In 2007, he was deployed to Iraq as the Senior Line Medic for Alpha Company, 1st Battalion 327th Infantry Regiment. For his service, Robertson received many badges and medals and he left the military at the rank of Staff Sergeant.
“Serving in the military was a challenge but had an overall positive impact in my life,” he says. “I learned fundamentals of leadership and how to always work hard.” After the military, Robertson wasn’t entirely sure what to do next, but he eventually decided to pursue a nursing degree. “I chose South University because I heard that they are accommodating to veterans and have flexible class times,” he shares.
Yet, not long into his degree, Robertson realized that nursing wasn’t quite the right fit, and he decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Public Health instead. After learning of the health disparities present in South Carolina, he hoped an education in public health would prepare him to bring about policy change and improve disease prevention education in the state.
“The staff at South was amazing. I had professors with lots of public health knowledge who showed me examples of what my career would look like,” he says, noting that he appreciated the focus on problem-solving and real-world situations throughout the program.
Six months before finishing his public health degree, Robertson received an internship at the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) with the Nutrition Education division for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). After completing his internship and graduating cum laude at South University, Columbia in 2018, Robertson was pleased to accept a role in the DHEC’s Cancer Prevention and Control Division. There, he worked as a Regional Provider Coordinator for Best Chance Network, a CDC-funded program designed to provide free breast and cervical cancer screening for uninsured and underinsured women in South Carolina.
In February 2020, Robertson accepted a new position with the DHEC as a Health Systems Specialist in the Diabetes and Heart Disease Management Division. In this position, he supports initiatives to reduce the burden of prediabetes, diabetes, heart disease, undiagnosed hypertension, hypertension and cholesterol problems in South Carolina. On a daily basis, he helps to coordinate communication between various office and statewide staff, develop and monitor strategic plans and contracts, and collaborate with other teams to align on key community and statewide initiatives.
“Having a college degree has opened doors for me to not only have a stable job but to also obtain a career that I enjoy,” says Robertson. “I am proud to be able to work for communities in need and address health disparities.”