Matthew Lindsley, BSN, RN
Public health nursing “is much more than being a disease detective.”
For Matthew Lindsley, public health nursing “is much more than being a disease detective.” His capstone project in the Johns Hopkins MSN-MPH program is leading him to look at our nation’s food systems to keep agricultural workers safe and healthy.
The New Hampshire native grew up in a neighborhood where “health inequalities were relatively rare,” then spent a year after high school in Boston, where he taught middle school students about HIV/AIDS through an Americorps program. There, he got his first taste of the public health problems of HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and homelessness, and “I realized there was a need for some change.”
He earned his bachelor’s in nursing with a minor in Spanish and immediately set off to Peru with the Peace Corps. He knew he was doing good work there, but he knew that he could have an even greater impact if he got some advanced skills. “I realized I could take my work further, and to manage large health programs or supervise, I needed more than a BSN.”
With an eye on the Johns Hopkins public health nursing programs, Lindsley came to Baltimore to work in the STD/HIV/TB department in the City’s Eastern Health Clinic. He soon enrolled at Johns Hopkins, determined to “explore areas of public health that you may not have thought of before —global health, teaching, and environmental health, too,” he says. “Johns Hopkins is helping me to realize there are many more needs that I can assist with or areas that I enjoy working in.”
Fluent in Spanish, Lindsley was drawn to working with migrant farm laborers to minimize their environmental and occupational health risk. His goal is to train clinicians to report incidents and recognize pesticide-related illness. “It protects laborers, their families, and ultimately the entire food supply,” he says.
After graduation, he aims to be a nurse officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. “I plan to pursue a position with the federal government to continue with the public service work I’m very passionate about,” he says.