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Profiles in Public Health

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Megan Whetzel

MPH, Behavioral and Social Science

1. In one sentence, what is public health to you?

Public Health to me, means that I will be involved in the process of protecting and improving the health of my community through the use of preventative medicine, health education, control of communicable diseases, application of sanitary measures, and monitoring of environmental hazards.

2. What inspired you to study to public health?

My inspiration to study public health was driven by my love of healthcare, and helping my peers. When I did not get accepted to physical therapy school, my heart was broken. I knew I loved every aspect of healthcare, and I thought that physical therapy was the only option I had to make a difference in others’ lives. I stumbled upon an acquaintance who was studying public health, and he encouraged me to seek more information on schools and what public health was all about. I did some research, contacted some faculty members, fell in love, and immediately knew that everything had worked out like it was supposed to.

3. What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far?

The most rewarding thing I have experienced in my studies thus far is understanding the complexity of public health and how everything ties together. Every single day I learn something new and put another piece of the puzzle together. Gaining knowledge in an area that you did not know about before is so rewarding, and being able to share that knowledge to make a difference in someone’s life is doubly rewarding! I am able to use what I have learned to help mold my younger peers into future public health professionals.

4. What is the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were starting out in public health?

The one piece of advice that I wish someone had given me would be to have an open mind when it comes to specialties in public health. There are so many different areas to focus on that sometimes we get caught up in one specific field of study. Public health is one giant web that all ties together, and if you have a more open mind about different topics in healthcare, that will benefit you in so many ways.

5. What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?

Wow, this is a tough question! There are so many controversial topics in healthcare that need immediate attention. I think we first need to focus on bettering the overall health of our nation. Obesity rates are skyrocketing, poverty in our own country is a problem, and some people still do not have access to health insurance. I know my fellow public health professionals are doing a great job at targeting these issues, so I have no doubt our nation as a whole will become healthier in the future.

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