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New Class of MPH Students Experience Public Health Immersion

Students in park listening to speaker

September 28, 2018

In September 2018, the new class of Master of Public Health (MPH) students started the semester off with a real-world opportunity to explore some of the public health challenges experienced by residents of Philadelphia. Dornsife's annual Public Health Immersion program is a week-long event that enhances new students' connection to and understanding of public health in the city. Each day, they learn about a new public health topic, such as infectious diseases, health systems, non-communicable diseases and injuries, substance use and misuse, and environmental health.

This year's event kicked-off with breakfast and an introduction from Dean Ana Diez Roux, MD, PhD, MPH, who talked about Dornsife's extensive community partnerships within the Greater Philadelphia area and how the School works to advance public health in the region. Students then took part in an array of public health activities, lectures, and site visits led by public health leaders and Dornsife faculty.

After a week of lectures and visits to Philadelphia clinics, outdoor recreation areas, first responder programs, and other sites, students were given an opportunity to share and discuss what they had learned.  

"The program expanded my scope of interests and showed me that the possibilities to improve the health of underserved populations are truly limitless," says Thomas Jackson, MS, Biomedical Sciences candidate and MPH Health Management and Policy '20. "The experiences I gained have already shaped me into a more service-driven and equity-focused future practitioner of public health."

"I was able to witness how interdisciplinary public health is and participate in site visits that made a lasting impact on me," says Alexandra Trautman, MPH, Community Health and Prevention '20. Students toured Prevention Point Philadelphia, the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services Center, historic Philadelphia neighborhoods, the Center for Firefighter Injury Research & Safety Trends (FIRST), and local communities.