Columbia’s Public Health ‘Summer School’
Close to fifty college undergraduates got a bird’s-eye view of public health careers this summer during the Summer Public Health Scholars Program (SPHSP), a partnership with Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, College of Dental Medicine, School of Nursing and Mailman School of Public Health.
“I’ve learned that public health isn’t just about medicine,” said 2014 participant Richmond Laryea, a junior at the University of Central Florida. “It’s about things like the security and safety of public parks, places for farming, transportation, and education—it really takes place in every sector."
>>Bonus Content: Watch participants in last year’s program talk about their public health internships.
The program, which is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity, is designed to show students the range of public health practice. Students typically spend three days at an internship, one day in the classroom and one day on a field trip to places such as the Harlem Children’s Zone. Each student is also mentored by the Mailman School’s associate dean of Community and Minority Affairs.
Laryea said his career plan is to become a cardiothoracic surgeon, but with some time spent gaining a public health degree, as well.
“With my experience in public health, I’ve learned that I want to look into a community approach to help others as a whole, instead of just helping an individual person,” he said.
Public health agencies where students are performing fieldwork this summer include the Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership, BOOM!Health, the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and New York City’s Correctional Health Services.