The field of public health touches everyone and is by nature interdisciplinary, with important contributions made by epidemiologists, sociologists, physicians, economists, statisticians, scientists, and nutritionists, among many others. Through both coursework and the two-week field experience, students will be introduced to the field of public health based on a social-ecological model. Participation in a local, collaborative, community-based project coupled with study in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Washington, D.C. allows a comparison of public health efforts at the local, state, and national level.

Through readings, discussions, guest speakers, research, site visits, work with community partners, and library exhibit development, students will:

  1. Consider the cultural context of health and the social determinants of health.
  2. Be introduced to the impact of policy on our nation’s health.
  3. Reflect on their own interests and possible future paths.

The fall course will provide an introduction to the principles of public health and to community-based work and research.  You will identify a public health-related project to work on in collaboration with a community partner during fall term that will be completed when we are back on campus winter term. In December we will visit with health professionals working in a range of organizations from local free clinics and small, non-profits to state and national government organizations including the Minnesota Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics, and the Environmental Protection Agency. We will learn about public health policy at the Minnesota AIDS Project and the American Public Health Association as well as through meetings with elected officials when possible. Winter term is a time for reflection, synthesis, completion of projects, and development of a public exhibit.