July 12, 2024

“Students who wish to pursue the minor can take a wide variety of health-related electives across campus,” Lyle says. “For example, they can take a course titled Environmental Health in environmental studies to better understand how environmental hazards compromise the state of population health. Or they could opt to take Health Disparities in psychology if they are interested in better understanding social determinants of health, including how social inequality shapes health outcomes.”

“There are even two courses from computer science that we are including for credit toward the minor,” Lyle adds. “One is Python for Biology and Life Sciences, and the second one is Data Science Fundamentals. Both of these classes are really helpful, and they give the hands-on health-data management and analysis skills that some public health fields require.”

As for student interest in this new minor, excitement is already building. Clare Wurlitzer, a rising-senior psychology student from Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, learned of the new offering when she took Lyle’s Health Psychology class during the 2024 spring semester. “When Dr. Lyle told us about the public health minor, I was very interested in pursuing it because public health is something that everyone should be interested in …,” Clare says. “Since COVID-19, I knew that I wanted to learn more about how society and people deal with health and how quickly people can change their views on health.

“I have family friends who work in the healthcare field,” she adds, “and watching them and learning about the behind-the-scenes experiences makes me look up to them and the sacrifices they make to keep people healthy and safe.”

Nadia Plechaty, a senior sociology student from Littleton, Colorado, says she’s been interested in public health ever since she took Miller’s Health, Aging and Society class as a first-year student. “My passion really lies in public health issues related to reproductive and sexual health,” Nadia explains. “I spoke with Dr. Miller about possible job and internship opportunities in the field, and relative coursework that already existed at Eckerd that I could take to allow me to study it.

“I have taken many health-related courses at Eckerd and have off-campus experience with organizations like Planned Parenthood, Progress Florida, and Metro Inclusive Health—thanks to Dr. Miller’s mentoring. I even studied abroad in Ghana to do a public health internship, research and take classes at the University of Ghana to get more experience and education in the field before applying for a master’s degree.

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