Public Health

Water tank, Dominican Republic

Public health is often taken for granted but the results of it are all around us.  The water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the places in which we live and work, and the diseases we try to manage are all shaped by the science and practice of public health. Often we are not aware of public health until disasters occur, such as devastating earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and other calamities.  In the wake of such disasters, concerns about air quality, food and water contamination, and the spread of disease, both immediate and for the long term, are just a few of the public health concerns that become foremost in our minds.

What is Public Health?

Public health focuses on improving a community’s wellbeing through healthy lifestyle education, disease prevention research, creating and implementing health polices, and social/political advocacy. Public health professionals spend their time helping protect the health of populations, which can be as small as a local neighborhood or as large an entire country. 

Public Health is...

Majoring or minoring in public health at Calvin will equip you with a broad understanding of the role of public health in the world. In addition to a hands-on internship, you’ll take classes in health behavior and education, biostatistics, environmental and global health, epidemiology, ethics, and health policy and management.
In both developed and developing countries, population health and policy issues have become increasingly important. With aging populations and epidemics of obesity, asthma and diabetes, public health officials are needed to address big-picture issues like safe water and air and appropriate diet.
Infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhea, pneumonia and HIV/AIDS continue to be the leading cause of death in developing countries. Improvements in basic public health services are vital for human flourishing in these countries.

Related Programs

Calvin has intentionally designed the public health major to encourage creative and flexible interactions with other disciplines and professions.  Considering a career as a lawyer or policy advisor?  Combine the public health major with a minor in political science or communications. The opportunities for linking public health to other academic disciplines are diverse—ranging from sociology, biology and political science to math, international development and health education, to name a few options.  Such versatility allows you to blend your passions and interests in meaningful ways as you prepare for life after Calvin. 

Study Abroad

Put your public health knowledge to work in the real world by participating in an off-campus interim or semester.

  • Research global health in Hungary and learn how to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty.
  • Discover how to influence health care policies by doing an internship in Washington, D.C.
  • Partner with SafeWater Ghana and bring clean water to people at risk from contaminated water consumption.