Thinking back to my freshman year of college, I would never have imagined that I would have the dreams and aspirations for my future that I have today. I am currently studying Community Health with a minor in Global Health. One of my aspirations is to go on to graduate school with a focus in Public Health. Being a junior and thinking about graduate school is a lot but luckily for me, I was able to get some great information and advice from Dr. Beth Meyerson.
Dr. Meyerson is an assistant professor at Indiana University, Co-Director of the Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention Indiana University School of Public Health, and Policy Director, Cervical Cancer-Free Coalition. She was also featured on NPR for her work on the HIV outbreak in Scott County. I was fortunate enough to ask her some questions and I thought I would share!
If you could give one piece of advice to undergraduate students who want to pursue Public Health, what would it be?
Get some real-world experience in public health. There are many, many opportunities to do so beyond having a paying job. Volunteer opportunities are the easiest, and there are also fellowship and internship opportunities as well. Because MPH degree programs are organized in concentrations (those areas with intensive focus), students should think carefully about their interests and gifts before applying. For example, at IUSPHB, we have 8 unique concentrations:
- Behavioral Social and Community Health: for students interested in designing and evaluating public health interventions
- Biostatistics: for students interested in the measures themselves and how to design studies which measure health outcomes
- Environmental Health: for students interested in the impact of the environment on health
- Epidemiology: our primary science of measurement to assess the health of populations
- Family Health: for students interested in the family and family systems, and how they function to sustain health and are challenged by conditions affecting health
- Physical Activity: for students interested in movement as a means toward greater health — groups, individual, special populations
- Professional Health Education: for students interested in working with health educators or changing the face of our public health education in (say) school environments
- Public Health Administration: students interested in management and policy usually choose this
What should a student look for in a graduate school to pursue Public Health? Are there any benefits to studying abroad for graduate studies in Public Health?
Students should look for public health schools that offer the ‘whole package’ — not just classes, but an engaged learning environment with professors who are from the real world of public health; and one that offers opportunities with career development and embedded learning experiences. Students should seek out schools that have vibrant relationships with the public health community — these relationships also translate into field experiences for students. Many of my students end up volunteering, working for and interning with agencies with whom I partner for research
Would you recommend a career in Public Health to a student? Why?
Public health is about changing the world because it focuses on the conditions that affect the health of populations. These conditions are myriad: social and economic, geopolitical, structural in nature. So, if students are the types who want to make the world a better place, community by community, public health is for them! It is an avocation more than a vocation. We do it for the mission not the money.
After having the pleasure of talking to Dr. Meyerson, how could I not get excited about what the future holds?!? It is always so encouraging to see someone so passionate about their career. My dream to have a career in Public Health has just been reaffirmed and even though I don’t know what the future brings, I am ready to tackle anything that comes my way.
Dr. Meyerson will be one of the speakers for the TedxIU Talk at the IU Auditorium on November 12, 2015. Tickets are still available here!
Ally Hunt is a junior from Zionsville, IN currently completing her degree in Community Health. She’s a lover of animals, traveling, and all things Beyonce. Even when life throws her curve balls, she’s grateful to be in the game!
Categories: Professor Spotlight
IUSPH Career Services
Job opportunities for Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington majors are diverse and expanding as the emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle grows around the world. Career Services experts in each of our academic departments will provide one-on-one counseling and career building opportunities throughout your academic career, from choosing the right major to developing a strategy to find a job. They can assist you with:
•resume and cover letter preparation
•graduate school preparation