Sep 25, 2021  
2019-2020 College of Liberal Arts (Admitted Fall 2019/Spring 2020) 
2019-2020 College of Liberal Arts (Admitted Fall 2019/Spring 2020) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Health

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About the Program

The Public Health Major is a multidisciplinary program that bridges the biomedical sciences, social sciences, and humanities. It offers a population-level approach (as contrasted with the individual patient-centered approach of clinical medicine) to solving health problems with a strong focus on scientific, social, and ethical principles. International health is central to this program, as health in today’s world must be understood in global context. Public health’s focus historically was and still is on the prevention of diseases, disabilities, and disorders through a variety of means including health education. It has a long and venerable ancestry, and the research it stimulated has been shaping health care policy since the outset of the Industrial Revolution.

Public health is of major interest to anthropologists, sociologists, economists, humanists and politicians, as well as to biomedical specialists. Needless to say, one cannot practice public health in a vacuum. Sociocultural, political and economic issues determine the quality of a society’s health. Public health is not a new study but has recently generated much debate among policy makers, providers and users of this important service, due in part to the high costs of health care in the U.S. and resulting inequities.

The study of public health has general educational value in that it involves critical thinking and decision making and gives students a methodology for evaluating population-level data. It exposes students to health care and policy issues while at the same time they gain an understanding of the depth and breadth of public health practice.


  • Director: Christina McKittrick (Associate Professor Biology)
  • Professors: Jonathan Reader (Professor of Sociology)
  • Associate Professors: Frances Bernstein (History), Brianne Barker (Biology)
  • Assistant Professors: Lisa Jordan (Environmental Studies and Sustainability)



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