Public health is a way for me to better understand my patients’ illnesses in the larger context of their disease so that I can provide more comprehensive and holistic health care.
I was inspired to study public health after my study abroad semester with the International Honors Program to Washington D.C., Tanzania, and Vietnam. The goal of the program was to compare community health care between all three countries. This program showed me the many ways that public health can positively impact communities around the globe.
The most rewarding experience of my studies so far has been volunteering as the Logistics Coordinator at the Lotus Wellness Clinic, a clinic for homeless women in Miami. The women we saw at this clinic had often been failed by the medical system and this clinic was their only point of care. The impact of public health interventions like STD screening and pap smears was incredibly beneficial and valuable to these patients.
One piece of advice I wish I had gotten when starting out in public health was insight into how much effort and time it takes to design, research, and implement a public health intervention. It’s important to work on a team, plan in advance, and be flexible when working on interventions.
The biggest challenge in public health is finding novel ways to address health disparities in our communities.