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Public Health

Public Health

FLC's Public Health Department explores policy, research, and practice in addressing infectious diseases and social issues.

Public health touches all aspects of our lives and communities. FLC's Public Health Department explores policy, research, and practice in addressing infectious diseases, like COVID-19, non-communicable diseases, including diabetes and cancer, and social issues, from food insecurity to housing and environmental quality. New spaces for collaborative research will provide students with inspiration and experiences to find their public health passion.

As one of only two colleges in Colorado that offers a Public Health undergraduate track, FLC blends courses in medicine, biology, and communication to help students better understand how choice, genetics, and the environment impact families and individuals. On the road to graduation, students research alongside faculty to find solutions to some of the world's most challenging issues.

The Public Health Department also offers a major in Health Sciences, combining science prerequisites for allied health fields with compatible courses that turn passions and interests into meaningful careers.

Diverse students at Fort Lewis College test health tools in the Health Sciences lab with a professor looking on.

"Culturally, I come from a background that is hesitant to seek medical services. I believe I can recognize where the distrust comes from, and I want to use my position in the medical field to help others overcome that. I decided to pursue Public Health because I want to research and reduce health disparities within the Latinx community in the United States, particularly by using my bilingualism to increase health literacy and empower individuals to manage illness and disabilities. I hope to also contribute to the well-being of my community in the healthcare field by helping people overcome language barriers, cultural insensitivities, and a lack of access to the healthcare system.

"I believe we have a responsibility to close gaps in healthcare and ensure that everyone gets the same access and resources. This is why I want to contribute to the change. I can help bridge these barriers because I am bilingual and multicultural. I may not have known it before [this program], but working to achieve health equity for all people, whether it be through research or volunteering, is global health."

—Heleny Zacamopa Vazquez (senior studying Exercise Physiology and Public Health, '24)

Jennifer Lowell and a student are in white lab coats and blue gloves, examining a disc in FLC's microbiology lab.

Microbes rule the world. Historically, they shape society and ecosystems. These new microbiology lab spaces will focus on the unseen and allow our students to connect the natural world with human health.

Jennifer Lowell, Chair and Associate Professor of Public Health

A professor and student look at health messaging translated into braille.

"I chose to study Public Health because it is such a diverse and progressive field–a perfect blend of social and natural sciences. The common goal in public health is ensuring the well-being of the population’s health. My goal is to conduct field research and develop vaccinations. I’m also interested in studying holistic medicine and how that correlates with mental and physical health. There are just so many different paths to take in public health!

"Fort Lewis has amazing Public Health professors. I am in the Global Health course taught by Dr. Tapati Dutta. Because of this course, I was able to expand my network and find new opportunities and passions. Dr. Dutta has created an encouraging and enthralling class environment through teaching using real-life examples, collaborations, group exercises, research, and lectures via storytelling.

"It has been such a privilege to be a part of this degree program and work with everyone."

—Mia Gunn (Junior studying Public Health)

For me, this opening is exciting. I think about the next generation of students using this space and equipment for labs and coursework. I won't get to use it since I’m graduating, but having more space dedicated to the research of departments like Public Health is huge. It's a major upgrade.

Jessica Sanchez (Public Health, '23)

Jessica Sanchez examines microbes in discs in the FLC microbiology lab, wearing a white lab coat and blue gloves.

A professor points to a diagram in a textbook, at a table with students studying.

"The sophomore students in my Social Determinants of Health course have been learning about public health research by doing it. Students analyze Medicare insurance data with the objective of finding a previously undiscovered health inequity or disparity. Working with real-life data allows students to identify which population groups carry a higher burden of disease over others. But we do not stop with those discoveries! Each student reviews research literature [and] often finds that social factors...are associated with different health outcomes. Knowing the unique set of social root causes lets students search for potential solutions to close the gaps in health outcomes associated with their disparities."

Nora Flucke, Assistant Professor of Public Health

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