Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and communities through “the promotion of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention, and detection and control of infectious diseases” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Public health addresses the health of populations that can span from a small, local neighborhood to the world. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to identify and solve problems regarding the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of populations, public health draws from biomedicine, biomedical technology and engineering, public policy, economics, social psychology, environmental health, epidemiology, and biostatistics. Public health not only treats ongoing epidemics and health issues, it also makes an effort to prevent them from happening by implementing educational campaigns and programs, recommending services, and conducting research. The promotion of health-care equity, quality, and accessibility to address health disparities is also an essential part of public health.
Engaged Scholarship Examples
Hussain Zaidi ‘22 is a current Lang Scholar whose project aims to prepare and educate health care professionals, medical students, and policymakers about the negative impact of decentralization on health care availability and quality for LGBTQ+ communities and other vulnerable populations in Pakistan. He will advocate for a hybrid approach involving both decentralization and centralization of health services at different levels. He also aims to introduce a new educational curriculum to medical and other health professions schools to make these changes long-lasting and effective.
Eduardo Burgos ‘22 wants to connect the issue of healthcare inaccessibility of marginalized populations, such as communities of color and migrant working communities, to the larger history of Western colonization, violence, US imperialism, White supremacy, and other large structural forms of oppression. He aims to use his Lang Project to ultimately reduce social roadblocks to care, establish long-lasting health practices, and promote medical practice change by facilitating medical care at migrant work sites and using nonprofit organizations that serve migrant populations to catalyze much-needed appropriate policy changes.
Shayena Shah ’21 is a Lang Scholar whose project, SaniStitch, is an economic livelihood initiative to combat taboos against menstruation in India. Ultimately, Sha hopes to continue to promote societal openness and acceptance of menstruation for women of all ages by hosting reusable menstrual product design workshops for women, training peer health workers, holding awareness workshops for all genders, and expanding SaniStitch into more communities across the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in India.
Key Faculty & Staff
- Christy Schuetze, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Director of Heath & Societies
- Gigi Simeone, Health Sciences/Pre-Law Adviser
- Madalina Meirosu, Tri-Co Medical Humanities Network
- Global Health Forum | Contact: Jaydeep Sangha '21 or Francis Eddy Harvey ‘21
- A group whose mission is to empower students and community members to improve global health through raising awareness, cultivating partnerships, and pressuring political initiative.
- Sexual Health Advocates | Contact: Mrinali Taskar ‘22 or Shirley Liu '22
- This group aims to provide students with access to safe sexual health supplies and with trained, residence-based peer advocates who can discuss sex, intimate relationships, sexual health, sexuality, gender, and relevant on- and off-campus resources.
- Swat Doulas | Contact: Dev Subedi ‘23 or Nina Robinson ‘23
- Students hold meetings and watch films together on the topic of supporting a birthing mother. Students may attend weekend-long trainings on the scope and specifics of the role of a doula, which is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth (DONA International).
- Avritah | Contact: Anna Miller ‘23 or Maya Tipton ‘23
- Avritah is an intersectional platform for action dedicated to dismantling systems of health and environmental inequity.
Other examples of relevant courses at Swarthmore (check course schedules for offerings each semester):
- ANTH 043 - Culture, Health, & Illness
- ANTH 049B - Comparative Perspectives on the Body
- ANTH 053B - Anthropology of Public Health
- ANTH 133 - Anthropology of Biomedicine
- ECON 075 - Health Economics
- ECON 079 - The Health of Nations
- ENGL 002M - Medical Writing and Rhetoric
- FREN 017A - First-Year Seminar: Literature and Medicine
- POLS 048 - The Politics of Population
- PSYC 038 - Clinical Psychology
- PSYC 108 - Research Practicum in Clinical Psychology
- PSYC 109 - Research Practicum in Social and Emotional Well-Being
- SOAN 020M - Race, Gender, Class and Environment
- SOCI 050B - Medicine as a Profession
GSST 056 - Outbreak Narratives: A Medical Humanities Exploration of Literature on Germs, Vampires, and Other Plagues
HIST 067T - Digging Through the Big American Tobacco Archives: Public Health, Corporate Deception, and Cigarette Smoking in Modern Latin America
PHIL 052- Bioethics
POLS 048 - The Politics of Population
PSYC 037 - Multicultural Psychology
PSYC 038 - Clinical Psychology
SOAN 020M - Race, Gender, Class and Environment
SOCI 050B - Medicine as a Profession
- Cooper University Hospital Externship
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research
- Alliance for Health Reform, Health Policy Internship
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Summer Student Employment Program
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Student Research Program
- New York City Department of Health Internship Program Health Research Training Program
- Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) Research and Evaluation Group
- AmeriSpan SALUD program
- Child Family Health International
- Engineering World Health (Duke University)
- Health Education & Advocacy Liaisons (HEAL) internship in Roatan, Honduras
- Minority Health & Health Disparities International Research Training
- Science News Writing Internships
- AAAS Minority Science Writers Internship
- Office of Government Relations (OGR) Internship
- Science & Diplomacy Internship (OISA)
- Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion (DoSER) Internship
- Close Concerns
- Summer Undergraduate Minority Research at the University of Pennsylvania (SUMR@Penn)
- Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) sites with public health offerings
- Camp Promise
- Johns Hopkins Summer Employment Center for Talented Youth
- City of Philadelphia Emergency Management Fellowship
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute Summer Scholars Program
- Puentes de Salud in Philadelphia