Now is an exciting time to pursue a career in public and community health. Public health focuses on health promotion and disease/injury prevention rather than on diagnosing and treating illnesses and conditions after they occur. The pandemic highlighted the important role public health professionals play in the lives of people and communities. Many of the career opportunities in this field are experiencing much faster than average growth. The number of undergraduate majors in public health has skyrocketed the past few years, with the importance of public health brought to the forefront by the COVID pandemic (Public Health Majors Grow).
Public health is an extremely broad field and, as such, can be an attractive option if you are looking for an undergraduate major that focuses on health. Concerned about the prevalence of diabetes, lack of safe water supplies, emerging infectious diseases, cancer, or the widespread use of prescription drugs? Inspired by the debates over health care legislation? Want to take a role in confronting the monumental health challenges facing nations? Committed to addressing health disparities and advocating for an inclusive health care for all? With a degree in public and community health, you’ll be ready to help people make sense of conflicting societal messages about how best to eat, live, work, and exercise.
You can also be a leader in government, nonprofit organizations, and communities to guide them in adopting more ethical, fair, and cost-effective public health policies. Obtaining a solid foundation in public health prepares you to directly enter the workforce or it can lay the groundwork for pursuing a master’s degree in public health. Those who go on to pursue a master’s degree in public health often specialize in areas such behavioral science/health education, biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, global health, administration, maternal and child health, and public health policy.
Our public and community health major offers a great deal of flexibility in planning your course of study. Students in this degree program have gone on and pursued clinical options such as physical assistant graduate study. For example, Chelsea Doig was a 2017 Public & Community Health grad that went on to obtain an PA degree from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She works as physician's assistant at Delaware Academy in Delhi, NY as part of a school-based health clinic. Read about Chelsea's work in this recent article on the importance of school-based clinics in rural health care.
Our flexible degree program offers you the ability to focus on an area of interest that aligns with your career goals. You can select from an in-depth focus on health or work with your advisor to develop a planned interdisciplinary combination of study.