New students consider public health myths, perceptions

By Sally Crocker

IPE

 

Incoming School of Public Health graduate students were confronted recently by their perceptions of different public health concentrations and the overall field.

Prior to attending the interprofessional education event, the 47 new students were asked to complete a survey of their own backgrounds, academic concentrations, how they would rank statements about common public health assumptions, and to write words and phrases that they felt best described different types of public health practitioners.

“Warm, inviting, jovial, loving, prevention-oriented, focused on a healthy society, approachable, good listeners, big-picture people” were how students thought of Behavioral and Community Health professionals. “Serious, strict, technical, intelligent, math wizards, nerds, critical thinkers, research focused” were some assessments of biostatisticians.

Epidemiologists were viewed as “science-oriented,” people who work “overtime,” and those involved in “the disease process, data analysis/collection and surveillance investigations.”

Students described Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences professionals as being “outdoorsy, tree huggers and one with nature,” focusing on environmental issues like air quality, pollution, infectious disease, healthy drinking water, landfills, workforce hazards and occupational health.

Health Management and Policy professionals, on the other hand, were labeled as “leaders, change agents, business and policy oriented.” One comment described them as having the “largest form of control over public health.”

“In any field, it’s important to know how to work together with people who are different and come from backgrounds other than our own,” said Karen Bell, PhD, Assistant Professor and Director of the UNTHSC Department of Behavioral and Community Health. “Especially in community health, we find solutions in unique ways through collaboration with others. Each perspective brings something important to the table.”

The event pushed students to think beyond their initial perceptions and look at public health in a broader way.

“When you graduate, you’ll be working with many people across professions and within communities – even the word community can have different applications, whether it’s a neighborhood, city, county or state, even a country,” said Assistant Professor Marcy Paul, PhD, who along with Dr. Bell presented the IPE event.

“So think on a larger scale than your own ‘world,’ because people representing varied backgrounds, experiences, even cultures, are all part of the larger public health community.”

Recent News

Techstars Demo Day.
  • On Campus
|Dec 1, 2022

Techstars Demo Day brings innovation to the historic stockyards

For the last 13 weeks, the founders of 10 of the world’s most innovative startups have been in Fort Worth perfecting their new physical health technology. They are part of the world’s first physical health accelerator, and now they are ready to show the fruits of their labor. Techstars Demo D...
Dr. Sid O'bryant Award
  • Our People
|Dec 1, 2022

HSC named the winner of the D Magazines 2022 Achievement in Medical Research Award

The extensive research done by Dr. Sid O’Bryant and his team at the Institute of Translational Research has earned the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth the 2022 Medical Research Award by D Magazine. Dr. O’Bryant, the executive director of the ITR and a professor at t...
Dr. John Licciardone
  • Our People
|Nov 30, 2022

Key study results from HSC’s PRECISION Pain Research Registry published in JAMA Network Open

The Journal of the American Medical Association – Network Open has published findings from a recent HSC study about chronic lower back pain, race and the patient-physician relationship. The study revealed that Black patients reported worse outcomes for low back pain intensity and back-related d...
Ram flyer
  • Community
|Nov 23, 2022

Free pop-up medical, vision and dental clinic is just a week away

  The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth and Remote Area Medical – RAM® — a nonprofit provider of pop-up clinics that delivers free quality dental, vision and medical care to those in need — are bringing the free health care clinic to Dallas on Dec. 3 and 4....