Classes in public well being
MPH college students create digital workshop collection for top schoolers
By Sam Uhlarik
For a lot of college students, public well being isn’t a subject they spend a lot time exploring throughout highschool. “I by no means had the chance in highschool to discover public well being matters,” says Alyssa Caught. “Since I wasn’t uncovered, I didn’t understand the significance of public well being till a lot later.” Regardless of her late introduction to public well being, Caught is now pursuing her Master of Public Health (MPH) from Loyola College Chicago and main a brand new workshop collection centered on public well being schooling outreach to native excessive colleges. “Our college students are creating alternatives to immediately deal with this challenge and enhance consciousness of this clearly important self-discipline,” says Justin Harbison, college advisor for the graduate scholar group Loyola College Public Well being Affiliation (LUPHA).
Along with fellow MPH scholar Travis Nielsen and LUPHA, Caught developed the Loyola Educating about Public Well being (LEAP) workshop collection. After months of planning, LEAP held its first workshop in February 2021 with highschool college students from the Proviso Math and Science Academy. All through the workshop, college students discovered concerning the fundamentals of public well being and epidemiology by way of shows, interactive quizzes, and small breakout periods.
Initially, Caught and Nielsen supposed to carry the workshops in particular person; nevertheless, because of COVID-19, they have been pressured to adapt to a digital format. “It’s quite a bit tougher over Zoom to unmute your self and communicate out,” says Caught. “You don’t know when you’re going to be interrupting somebody, and also you don’t have the social connectedness of individuals round you once you get a solution fallacious.”
To beat this problem, Nielsen and Caught centered their consideration to engagement, impressing upon college students the significance of participation and that it’s okay to get questions fallacious. After the primary workshop, any worries they’d have been shortly resolved. “Because it seems, college students have been very engaged,” says Nielsen. “They have been comfortable to sort issues into the chat or unmute themselves to talk. I used to be so relieved to listen to these youngsters collaborating.”
Whereas Nielsen and Caught are happy with the scholars’ degree of participation, they’re most excited concerning the influence an understanding of public well being might have on their future. “I feel being part of these conversations and questions is tremendous significant,” says Caught, highlighting the significance of studying about public well being at a younger age. “We’ve had college students say, ‘I like public well being,’ or ‘What you taught me modified what I feel I need to do. Are you able to inform me extra?’”
Stucks remembers some college students commenting that they “by no means knew social traits had the largest influence on an individual’s well being,” as an alternative pondering genetics have been the largest determinants. “Watching that, for me, was actually transformational,” says Caught. “That recognition is the expertise I had after I began my MPH, they usually’re beginning that after they’re sixteen.”
For Nielsen, it’s with the ability to give again to the scholars that he finds most rewarding. “I grew up in an surroundings the place I didn’t have anyone in my household who had gone to school, and quite a lot of youngsters from low-income communities aren’t taught about these profession choices,” says Nielsen. “I’m excited to present them one thing to look ahead to sooner or later.”
LUPHA plans to host one other LEAP workshop collection in Fall 2021 with hopes to develop it sooner or later. Travis Nielsen, PhD, is the founder and president of LUPHA; Alyssa Caught will function vice chairman in the course of the subsequent educational 12 months.