Get Involved and Informed
To explore your interests, acquire career-related skills, and be marketable for graduate-level education, you should gain a variety of experiences related to public health. A good way to begin is to get involved on campus with organizations such as: Pre-Health Careers Club, Global Health Organization, Community service with HAVOC, Operation Smile, or the Student Assembly Health Committee.
Internet resources can introduce you to many relevant topics in public health and help keep you up-to-date on current events in the field. Some recommended resources include:
- Subscribing to newsletters such as STATnews, Global Health Now, CDC Center for Global Health, and American Public Health Association
- Magazines from schools of public health, such as the UCLA Fielding School and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health
- Partners in Health
Many real-world experiences could be helpful for gaining exposure to - and skills for - the field of public health. Opportunities do not have to be labeled as “public health internships” to be valuable. Follow your interests. For example, if you are interested in women’s health, you might consider volunteering at a family planning clinic. If you are concerned about access to care or healthcare delivery, you might pursue a research opportunity in health disparities or a hospital-based study on quality of healthcare. Other places to look for experience include local departments of public health, scientific research labs, health clinics, hospital-run community health initiatives, or nonprofits focused on a particular health issue or population, such as the American Cancer Society or Save the Children. A good directory to search for health-related non-profit organizations is idealist.org
Hamilton’s Washington, D.C. Program could offer excellent opportunities for those interested in domestic health policy and/or international development. Students who plan a career in international public health might consider participating in a study abroad program designed to offer experience in that area such as the School for International Training’s (SIT) global health programs in Brazil, South Africa, Chile, China, or Kenya. To explore options, visit the Office of Off-Campus Study.
There are numerous organizations abroad offering short-term, volunteer opportunities and experiences in public health; however, note that it is highly unethical to engage in activities that are beyond your scope of training and practice (e.g. providing clinical care without a certification). Recommended organizations include: