Public health is ultimately about coming together as a community to better ourselves, our environment, and our interactions through evidence-based practices that center around health outcomes and the social determinants of health.
I was inspired by a professor who explained upstream and downstream determinants of health to me. When I realized that I could make a much greater impact by focusing on population health as opposed to individual health, I chose public health and haven’t looked back since.
The most rewarding experience of my studies so far has been participating in the Graduate Student Ambassadors Program at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. It has been incredibly rewarding to share my stories and experiences with others, garner interest in public health and public health programs, and also practice some of my soft skills like public speaking, professionalism, leadership, and even podcasting!
Keep an open mind and really study each and every field! Every discipline in public health is incredibly valuable and you can learn a ton from each of them. Take a wide array of courses and get exposure to each department at your school (even if you’re afraid of Biostats). Having a strong, wide baseline of courses will benefit you later in untold ways.
Public health should be focusing on workforce recruiting and training, both domestically and internationally. I think that public health today could be doing so much more if only we had a robust and well-trained workforce. Certainly, the public health professionals at work right now are doing incredible work, but imagine what we could do if we had twice as many professionals!