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COVID-19 Pandemic Inspires New Minor at Presbyterian College

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Presbyterian College will offer a new minor in public health policy beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year. The minor will provide students a solid foundation for understanding the public health arena, according to Dr. Ben Bailey, assistant professor of political science at PC.

“The current pandemic demonstrates the critical need for individuals who understand public health policy to be a powerful voice in favor of evidence-based policy,” Bailey said.

“Successfully addressing the COVID-19 crisis–as well as future pandemics–requires rational, critically thinking adults to take leadership roles in all communities across the country.”

An interdisciplinary field

A student must successfully complete 18 hours to earn a minor in public health policy.

The area of study requires taking two foundational courses: Public Health 201: Introduction to Epidemiology as well as Political Science / Public Health 329: Public Health Policy.

In addition, a student must take 12-13 hours of courses in:

  • biology
  • economics/business administration
  • philosophy
  • psychology
  • public policy
  • sociology

The public health policy minor is designed to supplement a student’s major studies in a wide variety of disciplines, according to Bailey.

“It is the ideal minor to complement a student’s training and education in biology, pre-pharmacy, pre-med, or other pre-professional healthcare fields,” he said. “But it is not limited to these students. Public health is a truly interdisciplinary field of study, and this is reflected in its curriculum.”

Preparing for healthcare and other careers

Pre-professional students can minor in public health policy en route to acquiring public health knowledge that complements their career paths.

The minor is also designed for students going into careers other than public health who can benefit from public health knowledge in the delivery of their services, according to Bailey. A few examples of these careers include:

  • dentistry
  • health education
  • medicine
  • environmental studies
  • nursing
  • nutritional science
  • occupational therapy
  • physician assistant studies
  • psychology

“Students who complete the minor will be well positioned to apply for admittance into graduate level programs (e.g. Master of Public Health), as well as begin careers in public health policy,” Bailey said.

“With this minor, we hope to do our part in providing future community leaders the broad training needed to combat public health crises that will inevitably arise in the future.”

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