How Public Health Will Make Me a Great Clinician

Hey everyone! It’s Jada here! As I talked about in a previous post, I’m not only a public health major, but I’m also on the pre-physician assistant track. Today I am going to talk about how public health will give me an edge as a clinician.

First and foremost, what is a physician assistant? A physician assistant (PA) is a licensed, practicing medical provider that works under the indirect supervision of an MD. PAs can diagnose and treat patients in every medical setting and specialty, which improves healthcare access and quality. PAs are required to obtain their master’s degree in physician assistant studies, which on average is a little over a two-year program. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 37% increase from 2016-2026 in this profession, which is one of the fastest growing jobs in the nation.

Where does public health fit in? In all honesty, public health could not be a better fit for me and my career goals. My goal is to be the best PA that I can be, which includes me going out of my way to make sure my patients receive the best care I can provide. In my opinion a great clinician doesn’t prescribe lots of medications, a great clinician gets their patients off of medications. To be able to do this, you have to know much more than the basics of your patients. You have to take into account where these people come from, the environment they live in, their cultural beliefs, behavioral norms, etc. Health is about much more than just what’s on the surface. In just my first four classes here in the undergraduate program, I have already begun to take into account these types of things in my possible future as a medical provider. Having a background in public health gives you an upper hand when applying to these kinds of programs because not only does it set you apart from all of the science majors, public health shows you have a 360° view when it comes to the health of a patient. Having an undergraduate degree in public health will give me a foundation in preventative health, health promotion, along with critical thinking and clinical reasoning. Not only does this degree prepare me for a future in this career, it is something I personally am passionate about. I genuinely enjoy my time being an undergrad student in this program, especially here at Iowa. There are many other nursing, pre-med, pre-dent, etc. students that are also part of the public health program here which further provides me with that small community feeling. I see it as another way to network and form those meaningful supportive relationships with my peers. I honestly do not think I could have picked a better program for my goals.

Thanks for reading!! If you have any questions regarding this post, about admissions, or public health in general, please reach out to us at:

Catch ya next week with a new post!


Thinking about Iowa?

Hi all! Autumn here! Are you thinking about coming to the University of Iowa, but you’re not sure what to expect when you get to campus? Check out MY top 5 favorite things about the University of Iowa. I’m sure you’ll see something you love!


1.  The Sense of Community

The University of Iowa has a unique combination of being a Big-10 school with a small town vibe. Iowa City is a town of about 70,000 people with a quaint downtown area and friendly population. Pair that with a large university of about 25,000 undergraduates (which is still the 3rd smallest in the Big-10) and you’ve got a match made in heaven. The university and the city are melded together so that you really feel at home in Iowa City which creates a nice sense of community. We also have a strong community of students on campus. From cultural groups to religious organization to diverse academic student orgs, you are sure to find where you belong at Iowa.


2.  Student Organizations

Speaking of student organizations… let’s talk involvement! We have over 500 student orgs on campus so no matter what you want to be involved in, you will definitely find it. Personally, I am involved in A Cappella, Iowa Students for Refugees and the Undergraduate Public Health Organization. I am also very involved in Dance Marathon. Fun fact —  we actually have the 3rd biggest Dance Marathon in the COUNTRY, and annually raise millions of dollars for pediatric cancer patients at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital across the river. Getting involved on campus is by far the best thing I have done at Iowa, and is something I recommend everyone doing, no matter what school you end up at. It is the best way to make long-lasting friendships, explore campus and even make a difference in your community.


3.  The Pentacrest

Now, there is nothing I love better than a nice summer evening stroll on the Pentacrest. The views of the west side of campus are unmatched, and there’s always somewhere to spread out a blanket on the lawn. You may be thinking… what is the Pentacrest? Much like how other campuses have a “quad” (or 4 central buildings), we have the Pentacrest which is made up of 5 buildings! The main one is the Old Capitol Building, the pride and joy of Iowa City. The Pentacrest area is popular for hanging out with friends, lounging in a hammock, or even doing homework (because YES, there is wifi outside!). There is tons of grassy space with trees all around. It is definitely my favorite place to hang out when the weather is nice!


4.  The Opportunities

One thing that really drew me into the University of Iowa were the opportunities available to me as a student here. First, we are a huge research school, so if you are wanting to get involved in research, there is plenty going on. Personally, I do research for some PhD students in the department of epidemiology in the College of Public Health. Here, I collect data on developmental markers in children born pre-term. Most of my friends have had experiences in research, so it is something that undergraduates can partake in at our school. Another opportunity I have had is studying abroad. The U of I really encourages all students to gain global perspective by spending time abroad. They offer typical semester long sessions, but they also have lots of summer, spring break or winter break programs for people who can’t fit a semester abroad into their schedule. Additionally, there are plenty of leadership opportunities available at Iowa. From being leaders of student orgs, orientation leaders or student tutors, there are plenty of ways to gain leadership skills on campus.


5.  The College of Public Health!

Of course, I have to mention how much I love the College of Public Health. From the friendly professors to the neat study spaces, you really can’t go wrong with this building. I have most of my classes there, so I spend a lot of time there throughout the week. The student commons on the second floor is definitely the most popular hang out place to study or spend time with your classmates. Another highlight is the River Ridge Cafe on the first floor. Here, you can get fresh, hot coffee, snacks or lunch throughout the day. We even get mediterranean food catered in from a local restaurant in Iowa City. Throughout the week, the CPH brings in speakers to talk about work that they have done in public health. There is always something fun going on in our building!


I hope I have shed some light on things you didn’t know about the University of Iowa! Of course, there is a lot more to our school than the 5 things I highlighted. These just happen to be my favorite things. I hope some of you choose to make Iowa your home like I have, and then you can experience all of these things for yourself!


Thanks for reading!! If you have any questions regarding this post, about admissions, or public health in general, please reach out to us at:

Catch ya next week with a new post!


Welcome Back and Spring Class Spotlight

Welcome back, everyone!

I hope everyone had a great break…I know mine was super busy, so I hope you all had a chance for a little rest and relaxation. I know I sure didn’t! I was luck enough to do an internship with the Allamakee County public health workers, work at the nursing home, and take the GRE…all over four weeks! But, enough about me, let’s get to the real topic I will be talking about tonight!

I frequently give an overview of the classes I am in, and I want to give you guys an overview of a very interesting class that the BA majors are in this semester –

Fundamentals in Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response!

This class is all about the role public health plays in responding to disasters. Our professors mentioned that it is often surprising to community members and professionals to learn that public health plays the biggest role in planning responses and preparing for disasters. To me, I don’t think it is very surprising at all. I mean, the whole point of public health is to prevent injury, disease, and death, and a disaster causes all of these. To effectively plan the most efficient and successful response to minimize injuries and fatalities from a disaster is right up our alley.

This class took right off. In the second week, we already did a tabletop exercise with emergency management and preparedness officials from Johnson County. We set up five different groups and each group had their own supervisor and a whole incident command system. In our simulated disaster, a tornado hit the Iowa Memorial Union, and caused mass damage and flooding of the Iowa River. We had to evacuate all affected areas of campus and run our own response.

These kind of exercises are SO helpful for our learning, because we get a hands-on experience that helps us all understand quicker. And it is just more fun! I love that this class allows us to take charge and put our own knowledge to the test, all while learning new things along the way.

From this class, I have already gotten a much better understanding of the policies and agencies involved in emergency preparedness and response. There is a whole network of responders that span the nation working behind the scenes to plan for an emergency. I just think it is amazing how much these people do for our safety and we don’t even realize it. This is just another way that public health is working unnoticed to keep us all safe, healthy, and alive.

Preparedness is so important! One thing I have definitely started thinking about after being in this class only a few weeks is having my own preparedness plan. Think about if a disaster hit you and you were unprepared…don’t you think you would wish that you would have taken an hour out of your Saturday to make a survival kit?

Take this quiz from the Red Cross to see if you are prepared!


Thanks for reading!! If you have any questions regarding this post, about admissions, or public health in general, please reach out to us at:

Catch ya next week with a new post!


Have an Interest? There’s a Public Health Career for That!

Hey guys!

I’m sure you guys all have interests outside of your majors. We all do! I myself have a great interest in graphic design. I love to be creative and design new content all the time, whether that’s for personal use or for someone else.

As a health major, sometimes it can be kind of hard to fit in creativeness amongst all the science, logic, and cold, hard facts that come with health. I think that it is super important to give time to cultivate interests and let them still blossom and grow….it keeps us sane! As college students, we need that break from school for mental health. I realized that early in college, which led me to taking some particular classes to allow for that.

Freshman year, I took beginning ballet as an outlet away from chemistry. I never had the opportunity to be involved in things like ballet when I was younger, being from a very small community with fewer resources like that. I said “why not?” when signing up for it, and it was here that I realized that I needed to allow for my creativity and self expression to blossom during college. I took a basic graphic design class this past spring to get familiar with computer programs that would allow me to create professional looking designs. It was here that I started playing around with the idea of combining my love for creating things with public health.

In high school, I had always seen this campaign all over my school having to do with underage drinking. It was called “What Do You Throw Away When You Drink”. The thought of this campaign came back to my head while considering different things I could pursue in public health. I looked up the campaign and to my surprise, saw that it was sponsored by the Department of Public Health. After more research, I realized that there are whole departments of public health offices dedicated to health promotion and education which would be responsible for creating health campaigns.

Public health is such a unique field in the fact that there are so many different things you can do within it. You can relate almost any interest to public health, which is pretty incredible. This allows us to be truly passionate about the work we do and find a career that we absolutely love

~ Madison

New Ambassador: Jada!

Hey everyone! I’m Jada and I’m new to the public health ambassadors this year. I’m a second year B.S. student and I’m also on the pre-med/pre-PA track! I’ll just be kind of introducing myself in this post.

I came in freshman year as a psychology major, but had heard about the public health major from a friend and decided to give it a try. I was definitely not expecting to become so passionate about this topic but I love it! I love that our program is smaller and you actually get to know your classmates along with getting to know most of your professors on a very personal level. Public Health has really opened my eyes to different health topics and I feel that it gives me a more holistic view on health which will be really beneficial to me on my future career path.

To carry on the tradition, I’ll give you ten facts about myself:

  1. I am from the Quad Cities!
  2. I have wanted to work in the medical field since I was 6 years old (My Mom is a nurse so she definitely had an influence on me)
  3. I’m involved in lots of different things here on campus: Collegiate 4H, I’m in a sorority, I’m an ambassador for public health, and I’m part of the pre-PA club!
  4. I am also an RA in one of our residence halls
  5. My friends think I’m crazy for being so obsessed with country music, it’s really about all I listen to (I was second row at Toby Keith this summer)
  6. I have one younger sister and she’s almost taller than me (She’s only 11!!)
  7. My sister and I are both obsessed with Christmas and listen to Christmas music almost year round
  8. One thing I’m very passionate about in public health is providing adequate access to health professionals/facilities in underrepresented areas, especially here in our Iowan small towns
  9. I’m really excited to learn about US Health Care Systems next semester!
  10. I drink iced coffee even in the winter

I can’t wait to share more with you all throughout the year about me and the public health program here at Iowa! If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me or any other bloggers at


Hi! I’m Autumn!

Hi there!!


My name is Autumn and I am one of the College of Public Health undergrads who will be posting on this blog throughout the semester! I thought I would start by introducing myself and telling you all about the classes I am taking this semester. So first off, I am a third year public health major in the BA program. I am also a Spanish major! My interest areas in public health include global public health, maternal and child health, and social justice. However, I am constantly finding new interest areas because of the wide variety of possibilities in public health, so throughout the year, these interest areas might change a little!


I am involved in many things on campus outside of being an ambassador for the College of Public Health. I am a Morale Captain for the University of Iowa Dance Marathon, which I am so excited about! I am also involved in a service organization on campus where we do work both on campus and in the community. Last year, I joined an A Capella group and I found a great group of people that I get to sing with every week! I am also a member of the Students for Refugees organization here at Iowa. Lastly, I am a Tour Guide for the University of Iowa so I get to walk around our beautiful campus every day, showing my home to future Hawkeyes!


Now that you know a little bit more about me, here is a list of the classes I am taking this fall! Click on the links to read more in depth about these classes.


Third Year Undergrad Public Health Seminar

Every fall, public health undergrads take a 1 s.h. seminar course! This year we are focusing on careers, so we have workshopped our resumes, written cover letters, and learned about teamwork in the work place. We also get lots of time to reflect and write about ourselves, which is a great skill as we go into interviews for jobs, internships and grad schools.


Applied Public Health Methods

This is a class that adds on to the second year undergrad course, Intro to Public Health Methods. In this class we are learning to use a data analysis program, and continuing our learning in different data collection methods.


Health Economics

Health Econ is all about the economics behind health care. We learn about supply and demand of healthcare, as well as how to calculate premiums.


Public Health as a Public Good

This class also deals with the economics of healthcare, however we dive deeper into why society provides public goods. We have dealt extensively with supply and demand charts, and have learned a lot about externalities! This class is very discussion based and incredibly interactive.


The Green Room

This is not actually a public health class, but I love it so much that I had to share. The Green Room is an honors class (but you can appeal to take it if you aren’t an honors student), and the class is all about bringing the community to the classroom. We meet on Monday nights from 5:30-8:30 through October, and we have different speakers at the Englert theater every night! The speakers range from rapper and artist Dessa, to Kathy Eldon, a woman who launched a non-profit in the wake of her sons tragic death. The speakers are truly incredible, and we also highlight local artists and non-profits each night. Members of the Iowa City community come to hear the speakers, and engage in discussion with us students. If you have the opportunity to take this class, do it. You’ll never look at education the same way again.



I hope I was able to show the vast array of opportunities for education and involvement at Iowa. Throughout the semester, I hope to write more about my experiences here, including my study abroad and the Global Health Conference that I am attending this fall. Be sure to follow along with all of our blog posts!!


~ Autumn

Welcome Back!

Hey guys, it’s Madison here again! We’re getting back into the swing of things again at the CPH and with that comes the blog posts. This year we will have a couple new faces around the blog, so that is super exciting!

Let me just reintroduce myself – my name is Madison and I am now a third-year Bachelor of Arts student in the public health undergraduate program here at the University of Iowa. I also am a Spanish minor! My interests in public health revolve around health education, sexual health, maternal and child health, and vaccines. I’m close to finishing up my public health degree – I only have seven classes left for the major after this semester!! Speaking of classes, let me give you a quick overview of our new classes for the semester.

CPH:3500:0AAA Global Public Health

Global Public Health is a super interesting class! We talk about issues in public health on a global level and disparities that people encounter in different parts of the world. I highly recommend taking this class, even if you’re not a public health major! It is an important topic for everyone to be educated on.

CPH:3050:0003 Third Year Undergrad Public Health Seminar

This year’s seminar is all about how to succeed in your future profession. We talk about values, ethics, public speaking, and networking. All of these things are so useful for us as future professionals (which we will be soon – AHH!)

CPH:3100:0001 Health Economics

Health Economics is also a very helpful class. We talk about healthcare affordability and statistics on health insurance. This is common knowledge that all health professionals should know.

CPH:3600:0001 Applied Public Health Methods

Applied Public Health Methods is a continuation of Public Health Methods from our second year. It emphasizes on health statistics and we work with the program Stata for our calculations. The BA and BS students are split up in this course, offering a more tailored education!

I also have a Spanish class for my minor! I just got back in July from studying abroad in Madrid for my minor which was super cool!

I am pretty involved in campus life, I serve on the Graphic Design Subcommittee for Leadership for Dance Marathon. I love Dance Marathon and raising money and working on projects to help the kiddos at the Children’s Hospital (:

In mentioning graphic design, I should tell you guys about my dream job! After graduation, my end goal would be creating public health campaigns for the CDC on national or global level. I like being comfortable around graphic design, marketing, and just being creative because it gives me an outlet to practice for the future!

I would love to hear your guys’s interests within the public health world and your dream jobs. If you want to chat, email me (or another ambassador!) at You can also check out our undergraduate program website at

Also check out our past bog posts for more great content! It’s going to be a great year at the CPH and we can’t wait to have you all follow along with it here on the blog (:

~ Madison


Current Public Health Issue – School Shootings

Public health is something that is always being talked about….even if you don’t realize that it is public health!

Currently, a big issue in the news that relates to public health is gun violence. With all of the school shootings that are happening in the United States right now, there are a lot of calls to action on what can be done to prevent these tragedies from happening. The public health solution to the problem has been called the best way to fix this problem.

Public health relates to this issue because something that can be prevented (but isn’t) is killing people in the community. The driving force behind public health is to prevent death, injury, and disease. Naturally, public health officials are going to research the best way to try to make things like this stop.

The public health approach to preventing school shootings focuses on the source of the problem – the teen who has reached the mental point where he feels that he needs to buy a gun and take the lives of innocent people. The solution focuses on mental health, stricter gun laws and connecting to community resources.

Public health is always in the news, and we can use a lot of the information and methods it presents to help prevent tragedies from happening. Take a look at the full article to see exactly what is mentioned on how to better the situation!


My Future Plans

Hi everyone!

Here at Iowa, we’re just coming off of spring break! It was much needed after a busy couple weeks with a lot of midterms and papers to do. I didn’t go anywhere for break, just had myself a nice little “staycation” in Iowa City and worked all break! Also over break, I took some time and started doing more research into public health careers and my classes for next semester…let me fill you in!

Ever since taking Fundamentals of Public Health, I found myself drawn to an area of public health that is sometimes overlooked by bigger picture careers like epidemiology and research – things that are more well known and connected to public health easier. The area that I am interested in is health promotion and education. Specifically, my dream job would be creating campaigns for public health that raise the public’s awareness to a certain health issue. Sometimes, people don’t really understand what I mena by this, so let me just give you some examples of past public health campaigns you may be familiar with.


“What Do You Throw Away When You Drink”

A campaign that focuses on the prevention of teenage drinking and the consequences that follow.


“Play60” and “Fuel Up to Play60”

Two campaigns started by the NFL to improve the physical health of children and teens to get up and move and to eat healthier choices.


“ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was huge the summer of 2014. It is a campaign that took to social media to raise money for research on a cure for ALS.


These are just a few examples of different public health campaigns that are very popular. There are many more, but I think you guys can get the idea of them. I found some links to more information on public health campaigns – what they are and how to get started in a career in that area.


To start on my journey on this particular area of public health, I am (obviously) getting a background in public health by getting a BA in public health. I am also taking a graphic design course that will help me be able to create digital media for these campaigns. There are many different options here at the University of Iowa for classes and opportunities that can help you in your future.

There are SO many different careers in public health (hint – see my earlier blog posts for a list!) and my future plans could possibly change as I take my next couple semesters of classes, but for right now, I have found an area of public health that I greatly enjoy and that is supported by my professors and fellow students.

My Spring Classes

This semester I have a lot of different courses that count towards my public health degree. Let’s take a look at them and break them down so you guys can get a good idea of some of your future classes! (I’ll also provide a link to the course description of each course so that you can get a more formal look at what they entail!)


CPH:2400:0001: The US Health System in a Global Context

This course is a great way to learn about other health care systems around the world. We have class two times a week, and before each class we do readings on a new healthcare system from our textbook! We are learning about two types of countries: developed and developing. It is so interesting to learn about how each system is different, each of their strengths, their flaws, and how the people of that country live under a healthcare system of that manner. I am learning so much about the different types of healthcare systems around the globe and I know that this class will be great background knowledge for the future!


CPH:1800:0001: Social and Psychological Determinants of Health

If you love anatomy and physiology, you will absolutely love this course! This is technically a course that freshmen take in their spring semester, but I wasn’t a public health major until the beginning of the year so I am taking it now. This course is a great introduction to the human body and the habits that can affect the health of the public. We learn about everything from the skeletal system to the affects of sleep deprivation on the body. It is a class that will be great for public health students to utilize in the future since we don’t have to take an anatomy course! I love it because it is very centered on group learning and testing our knowledge. We work in groups to make sure we understand the information from that days lecture, and are given the opportunity to reflect on how we can personally reflect on the topics covered in lecture through reflection papers. It is an awesome course!


SOC:1022:0001: Social Justice and Social Welfare in US

This is another course that counts for the public health major! It is a Pick 2 option that is part of the BA requirements. This course is under the School of Social Work at the University of Iowa and teaches an introductory to social work and social issues in the United States. I have found that this course is helpful for public health students because it gives us background on working with people of minorities and poverty who experience disparities in health. This is a big part of public health because we are trying to provide the health care and resources that people need to them.


SPAN:3620:0001: Madrid

This is a course that counts for my Spanish minor! I chose this course specifically because it teaches the history, culture, and lifestyle of madrileños (citizens of Madrid), which will be extremely helpful for me when I study abroad there this summer. I have already learned so much about the city, metro, museums, restaurants, palaces, and so much more. The professor is awesome and loves teaching the course and I definitely recommend this course to anyone considering a Spanish major/minor!


ARTS:1070:0003: Elements of Graphic Design

Katie (the nice lady in charge of the ambassadors) helped me pick this class! I told her I I may want to work with public health campaigns in the future, and was considering an art minor to compliment my public health skills and make me a better candidate for a job in this field. This course is meant to be an introduction to students who haven’t had experience in graphic design before and want to build some basic skills. It is a very interesting course, and I have already learned to use two Adobe programs that I have not had experience with before.


I really like my classes this semester because I really feel like I am being prepared for my future. I am learning lots of skills that I will utilize now and in times to come and I love that I am able to have the opportunity to take classes like this!


~ Madison

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