The Impact of Public Health

Ferris’ College of Health Professions will be launching a new Public Health Program in Fall 2015. To get a taste of the new program, two new introductory Public Health courses will be available for all students in Spring 2015.

Introduction to Public Health (PUBH 200) will focus on how Public Health promotes health and well-being, prolongs life, and prevents disease at the community, state, national, and global levels. Global Health & Public Health (PUBH 210) highlights global public health issues and the promotion of global health and well-being.

“Public Health is an incredibly versatile and dynamic field in which there are a wide range of career opportunities,” said Dr. Fathima Wakeel, Assistant Professor of Public Health. “Within the domains of Public Health, there is basically something for everyone, and jobs in all domains can be found at the corporate, community, state, federal, and global levels, such as UNICEF and the World Health Organization.”

Dr. Fathima Wakeel encourages students to see if Public Health is right for them. Photo courtesy of Ferris State University.

Dr. Fathima Wakeel encourages students to see if Public Health is right for them. Photo courtesy of Ferris State University

According to Dr. Wakeel, the variety of career opportunities for students who study Public Health include:

Health Promotion/Education: People who have strong communication skills and knowledge in the social and behavioral sciences might pick this path.

Environmental Health and Safety: Focuses on monitoring and preserving the living environment and promoting safety in the workplace.

Epidemiology: The study of diseases. People in this field develop research studies, conduct data analyses, and monitor the status of infectious and chronic diseases.

Biostatistics: People who enjoy working either independently or as a team on research study development and data analyses might chose to go into this field.

Health Administrations and Policy: People who possess strong communication and leadership skills and who are interested in the economic, policy, and/or administrative aspects of health.

People who have any of these jobs could work in research or academic institutions, government agencies, private companies, or go into independent consulting.

Sophomore Honors student Danielle Winkler recently switched her major to Public Health after spending a month in Uganda this August.

Photo courtesy of Danielle Winkler

Photo courtesy of Danielle Winkler

“I was previously Pre-Med because I enjoyed the aspect of diagnosing diseases and helping people,” Danielle said. “I was hoping to be involved in medical missions because I enjoy traveling to other countries and would be able to share the Gospel in different parts of the world.”

After beginning her classes this semester, however, Danielle realized that she didn’t want to continue the stressful classes required for Pre-Med and medical school, and that Ferris’ Public Health Program was much more in line with her priorities.

“After I returned from Uganda, I realized that one day I would enjoy having a family and also having time to spend with them instead of being on call often,” said Danielle.

While in Uganda, Danielle worked with Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG) to reduce Uganda’s high HIV rates through education, encouraging testing and treatment, and reducing stigmas associated with HIV. She attended meetings aimed at educating community members on a variety of life and health-related topics, and also worked at a children’s ministry for children who have families affected by HIV.

“I was fortunate to learn how PAG has impacted the lives of these people, and I hope to one day have a small part in something similar,” she said.

Danielle hopes to become involved in community education and disease prevention. She enjoys the personable aspects of Public Health and is looking forward to getting to know those she’s helping more deeply than she would have as a doctor.

Danielle loved the opportunities she was presented with in Uganda, and hopes to someday return.

Danielle loved the opportunities she was presented with in Uganda and hopes to someday return.

So far, Danielle is most interested in global health education and is planning on returning to Uganda.

“I hope to one day work there or in another country with an organization educating community members and empowering them to eradicate preventable diseases in their community,” said Danielle.

Danielle is planning on obtaining a Master’s of Public Health and then seeing where she wants to go from there!

Students interested in Public Health or those with questions can contact Dr. Wakeel at or 231-591-3137.


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