Why I study Public Health at UIC

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Written by: Chau from Vietnam

My mother is an admirable surgeon. She spent her whole life dedicating herself to medical training, specializing in optometry and bringing light to thousands and thousands of people. She inspired me to become a person who gives hope to people and changes lives. Growing up, I have always pushed myself toward that goal. Blessed with interpersonal communication skills and the desire to make a change, I have a vision. I envision a world where every citizen lives the healthiest lifestyle possible. My mother once told me: “Whenever you are skeptical about changing the world, remember that you are not alone. There are hundreds and thousands, if not millions of people who feel the same way.” And she was right. UIC School of Public Health lights the torch for these hundreds and thousands, if not millions of people who want to make a change in healthcare for the public.

The faculty in the Public Health department at UIC embodies compassion, knowledge and leadership. Like many other kids, despite my keen interest in the major, I still did not know where to start, what to expect or whether this was the right path for me. My academic advisor made sure I understood how the program is outlined so that I would have the liberty to explore my choice of focus in public health through general education courses during the first two years, in addition to several required introduction to public health courses. After that, students start to get more in depth in the last two years.

Unlike other majors, with a public health degree, you have flexibility to focus on what you are passionate about and how you want to work yourself toward that passion. For example, I care deeply about mental health, and I want to take an interpersonal approach to this issue. In my junior and senior years, my major years, I will choose to focus on Health Communication and Psychology—one of many branches in public health. I plan to achieve my goal by taking advantage of UIC’s variety of courses, such as introductory courses for psychology and sociology. I can also go in more depth with my focus by pursuing a minor in Communication, which offers courses such as Introduction to Interpersonal Communication or Public Relations and Digital Media.

My public health courses are developed like a discussion session, rather than a lecture. With frequent guest speakers from organizations such as the American Public Health Association and CeaseFire Chicago, we have the chance to learn from reality, rather than from books alone. Moreover, the guest speakers keep in close contact with the students, which gives us the opportunity to create a valuable network and a powerful resource. The Community Research Projects established by the professors makes sure that we really put ourselves out there and engage with Chicago’s surrounding neighborhoods in order to collect and analyze data and initiate ideas for a healthy community in the future.

I have a vision, and with UIC’s support and resources, I am equipped with insight and integrity. In choosing UIC, I am one step closer to improving global health.

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