Dartmouth Students Reflect on Healthcare Access and Outcomes for National Public Health Week
Annually, the American Public Health Association (APHA) hosts National Public Health Week as a way to recognize the public health issues that are critical to improving health in communities, counties, and countries worldwide. With the aim to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners spanning industries and specialties on the strides that have been made across the public health landscape, the week - officially proclaimed in a statement from President Jospeh R. Biden and The White House - also looks to highlight the work that lies ahead and the immediate importance of expanding healthcare access.
To celebrate National Public Health Week 2023, we asked students in the Dartmouth MPH, MS and PhD programs about what public health means to them, and more specifically about public health topics that they're working to innovate and expand beyond the classroom.
"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said one of the biggest injustices is inequity in healthcare. We need to develop new concepts of disruptive innovation to reduce inequities in healthcare, decrease medical student debt, improve primary care access, and avoid unconscious bias on patient provider levels so we can realize our public health potential."
-Amol Saxena, 2023 MPH candidate
“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Public health is everything. It means creating policies to ensure the greatest good for the community; educating the public so eveyone can contribute to community well-being; amplifying marginalized voices to lift up those traditionally ignored by healthcare. Public health is the foundation of a healthy society and creating a more sustainable environment for everyone."
-Allison Jennings, 2023 MPH candidate
"Public health conversations must be grounded in an understanding of healthcare access. We cannot just empathize with the patient journey, we must learn from it. Health outcomes result from the complex interplay between lives experiences and he healthcare delivery systems operating worldwide."
-Brandon Huxley, 2023 MPH candidate
2022-2023 This Is Public Health (TIPH) Ambassador
"Community plays a huge role in public health. We cannot accurately improve the health of a population without researching who they are, how they live, and what is unique to them that may impact their health. It's essential to leverage community members' lived experiences when working to improve public health, which can lead to achieving better outcomes."
-Caitlyn Lowe, 2023 MPH candidate
"Advocacy for equity, justice, the safety, well-being, and rights of my countrymen and the global world: that's what public health means to me."
-Chidalu Mbonu, 2023 MPH candidate
"As a paramedic, I witness the wonders of public health firsthand through direct community engagement. When I enter a patient's home, public health practices transcend immediate medical care by allowing me to provide harm reduction tools, resources for psychosocial support, and access to lifesaving medications that people so desperately deserve."
-Enzo Plaitano, PhD candidate
"Rural health is an anchor of public health. We cannot consider rural health without thinking about population health issues on American Indian and Alaskan Native (AI/AN) reservations. The complex socioeconomic, systemic, and institutional implications surrounding AI/AN health outcomes must be approached thoughtfully and holistically to instill meaningful change."
-Kaia Ordal, 2023 MPH candidate
"One of the most exciting aspects about public health is its ability to bring together stakeholders to solve the world's most complex challenges.
From providers to business leaders to community organizers, public health champions opportunities to have all voices in the room to ensure equitable, efficient, and sustainable solutions."
-Nora Vedder, 2024 MPH candidate
"Comprehensive and inclusive sex education is essential to improving our nation's health. It is one of the best ways to teach young people how to make informed choices, foster healthy relationships, and encourage health literacy while preventing teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and other adverse outcomes."
-Sage Lincoln, 2023 MPH candidate
- Student reflections assembled and edited by Suzanne Shrekgast, MA, MS
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