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Vina Himmatus Sholikhah

BS, Public Health, Airlangga University- Faculty of Public Health

What does public health mean to you?

Public Health is about protecting health and improving quality of life for all humans using different disciplines through collaboration among public health professionals, government, community organization and the private sector.

What inspired you to study public health?

When I was in senior high school, I was part of the Youth Red Cross. During part of them, I got a lot of health information. I also became an Adolescent Health Cadre. Afterwards, I think that learning about health and sharing what I have got to other people is an interesting thing. When I share health information means I spread awareness about health to other peoples and prevent them from health risk. So, I can protect and improve their health. This is a short story, why I choose to study Public Health.

What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career or studies so far?

The single most rewarding experience of my study is learning with society to understand society’s health situations and solve problems that best fit their needs. I have participated in some community empowerment during my study in an Undergraduate of Public Health degree. I heard many stories and learned many things that I believe improve me as a public health student and transform me into a more empathic personality. For instance, when my team initiated a waste bank to solve hygiene problems in the slum area, I learned that economic limitation is the major problem behind their hygiene behavior. Our goals are to decrease the waste heap and help to increase their income from the waste bank. By conducting this waste bank, our team hopes that the government or private sector will support the innovation’s realization that not only focuses on diminishing the hygiene issue but also more work on building the population’s economic resilience.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing public health today?

In my opinion, the climate crisis is the biggest challenge facing public health. The climate crisis impacts our health. The heat, extreme weather, access to safe water and food, air pollution, and vector-borne disease are the pathways through which climate impacts our health. The health risks posed by the climate crisis already harm marginalized groups including people with disabilities, people with low-income and the climate crisis is likely to deepen those disparities. Beside that, nowadays people choose to get health information by the internet, so health topics become the target of misinformation. Misinformation about health will affect the people to prevent from seeking the care, making wrong decisions/treatment and also linked to violence, mistrust, and social disturbances.

What advice would you offer someone who is thinking about a career in public health? 

Even though I haven’t graduated from a bachelor’s degree in public health, I suggest people who are thinking about a career in public health should not hesitate to decide to take up the field of public health. Public health does not only talk about health, but also policy, economy, and other disciplines. Thus, the career in public health is very wide. Becoming a part of public health also will make you love yourself and people around you more, because you know how to treat yourself and people well. Last but not least, just follow your passion, so you will never go wrong!

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