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New major is one of only a few such programs in Ohio

A rapidly growing career field, public health focuses on the promotion of the health of the public, the prevention of disease, and issues of social justice such as healthcare access. 

At BW, public health is a dynamic major that combines research opportunities, case studies and hands-on learning.  One of only a few such programs in Ohio, it offers participants a rigorous study of biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health policy, and social and behavioral sciences.

Public Health Students Travel to Maine to Study Rural Health Issues

Bridging classroom study with real-world experiences, a group of 11 Baldwin Wallace students and faculty traveled to Lubec, Maine, in March to study public health issues in rural America.

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

Goals of the trip were 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.

"The practice of public health is not conducted in the classroom,” noted Romeo. “It's not until you get down and dirty where the real concerns are that you'll actually understand the issues of health and social justice.  Our goal is to provide students with opportunities to practice public health in the trenches of our own neighborhoods, of neighborhoods around the country, and around the world.

Posted 3/12

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