The health of the public is arguably one of the most important issues facing our world today. Right now, as you read this, the world is dealing with the escalating coronavirus outbreak, in which public health, education, prevention, and innovation all play pivotal roles.
While doctors treat the sick, public health professionals focus on preventing people from getting sick in the first place through education and promoting healthy behaviors. They distribute vaccinations to prevent the spread of disease, educate people on certain risk factors, create safety standards to protect workers, and develop school nutrition programs to ensure kids have access to healthy food, all of which improve quality of life, and, generally speaking, reduce overall human suffering.
“Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where we live, learn, work and play,” said Mary Lou Lauer, PhD, director of Paradise Valley Community College’s Integrated Public Health Program. “I am so passionate about public health because it’s what is keeping us all alive and kicking.”
Dr. Lauer raved about the multitude of ways students can get involved and find successful career paths in the public health sector. Students who enjoy working with people, solving problems, reading, writing and public speaking, are all great candidates for PVCC’s Integrated Public Health Program.
The program was created 2½ years ago when Dr. Denise Digianfilippo received a grant from the Maricopa County Community College District to start an academic program in Integrated Public Health at PVCC. She and her team developed a two-year Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Integrated Public Health, along with four one-year Certificate of Completion (CCL) programs that spin off from the two-year program: Health Education, Health Navigation (renamed Community Health Worker), Health Administration, and Mobile Integrated Health. The first classes began in the Fall 2019.
Beyond the two-year degree, students can transfer and go on to earn a bachelor’s, as well as a Master’s or Doctorate in Public Health. Graduates can become Certified Health Education Specialists, work in environmental or global health, and become epidemiologists, field investigators, and refugee coordinators, to name a few job titles. The field of public health also needs social workers, lawyers, environmental scientists, nutritionists, microbiologists, nurses, doctors, engineers… the list of professions that work with and in public health goes on and on.
As we approach National Public Health Week, join us on April 8th in the KSC Courtyard for activities that will help remind us about the importance of public health. Representatives from PVCC academic programs in nutrition, environmental health, sustainability, public health and from our fitness center will be there to answer questions and get you moving! Enjoy rock wall climbing, football toss, yoga and much more! See you on April 8th!