A dynamic major, it combines research, case studies and hands-on learning.
Public Health Students Travel to Maine to Study Rural Health Issues
The one-week trip provided participants with a firsthand look at the struggles and triumphs of a remote rural fishing community. The group interviewed residents, conducted surveys, met with government officials and discussed community issues with area healthcare professionals in Lubec and Washington County.
Gaining insights through research
Swagata Banik, Ph.D., associate professor in public health and program director, led the trip for BW.
Among the goals of the trip was to have students learn about Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) in public health. With CBPR, research is conducted as an equal partnership between traditionally trained researchers and members of a community.
In addition, the students learned strategies for addressing health disparities among rural areas in the U.S. They hope to establish an ongoing relationship with the community for future public health initiatives.
Learning about public health issues firsthand
“There is something incredibly powerful about traveling somewhere impoverished and thinking about how you could help change the place for the better,” noted Jennifer Evans, a BW junior majoring in public health and pre-physical therapy.
Evans noted that the experience gave her personal and career perspectives she couldn’t have gained in a classroom setting. Among the experiences that made an impact on her were resident narratives about depression, suicide and substance abuse.
Uniting to bring hope to a community
In addition to gaining firsthand exposure to public health issues, the participants learned from one another. Among the students on the trip were a 25-year-old Air Force veteran majoring in public health and pre-med, a 28-year-old student transfer student who switched majors from piano performance to public health, an honors student from Albania, as well as others with varied backgrounds and interests.