Story at a glance
- Public health experts are vital to the coronavirus pandemic response both in the United States and internationally.
- The Associated Press reports that more students are showing interest in entering the field.
- The pandemic has jumpstarted both an interest as well as education in public health on a massive scale.
Most practitioners will tell you, public health is not a glamorous field. But the global coronavirus pandemic has put national attention on public health experts such as Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx — and even turned them into celebrities.
BREAKING NEWS ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Now, the next generation of public health experts is growing — and fast. The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health reported nearly 40,000 applicants this year to more than 100 schools and public health programs that use the common application form, a 20 percent increase from previous years. And at Brown University, applications for the master’s in public health program grew by 75 percent, Annie Gjelsvik, a professor and director of the program, told The Associated Press (AP).
“People interested in public health are interested in solving complex problems,” Gjelsvik told AP. “The COVID pandemic is a complex issue that’s in the forefront every day.”
For many of these students, COVID-19 is a real-time learning experience. Students at Brown are helping the Rhode Island Department of Health process infection data and trace the spread of the disease, AP reports. And for some, it’s personal.
Kelsie Campbell, a part Jamaican and part British biochemistry major at Florida International, told AP she wanted answers, “Why is the Black community being impacted disproportionately by the pandemic? Why is that happening? I want to be able to come to you and say, ‘This is happening. These are the numbers and this is what we’re going to do.’”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW