The COVID-19 pandemic has been a conversation starter for many people around the world. But for Elon's Public Health Society, it’s a discussion that will continue to be studied and talked about, especially this year with the topic so current and present.
Elon’s Public Health Society was created to provide a community for students interested in public health. Discussing everyday issues, current events, programs and initiatives surround public health, the organization has the goals of bringing the community together. Since the return of in-person meetings, President Victoria Colbeck said the society is planning to take conversations to the next level on handling and understanding COVID-19 in today’s society.
“It creates an environment where you cannot only talk about the issues in today’s society, but you can start to think about solutions too,” Colbeck said. “Being around public health people, they inspire me.”
While there will be many discussions of COVID-19 and digging into the university’s policy and protocols of the pandemic, other topics such as ethics behind medical practices like stem-cell research and physican assisted suicide are also talked about. Colbeck said the society plans on collaborating with Elon’s Pre-Health Society and H.E.R Lab to expand their discussions on medical ethics and justice.
“It feels like you are connected to a group of people that understand where you’re coming from,” Colbeck said. “Once you take your first public health class, anything that you are remotely interested in can become a career that works to better the lives of people in society.”
The Elon Public Health Society also serves as a way for students majoring in public health to create connections and meet professors in the field. According to the fall 2021 registrar report, there are 131 students majoring in public health this year. This number has slowly decreased since 2019, where there were 173 public health majors that year. Through joining the organization, sophomore Treasurer Julia Herman said that those who are majoring in public health studies should consider this a space to connect with other majors.
“If you’re a public health major, it definitely helps you learn to see if this is the career you want to do,” Herman said. “I joined because of connections and meet professors and just to learn more, meet others in the field.”
Serving as the secretary of the society, junior Skye Ziegler said that while the organization is still growing and planning meetings for this semester, the executive board highlights that the organization is open to everyone, especially to those who are curious about the pandemic.
“It’s a great spot to get everyone together and it’s not exclusive to just public health majors,” Ziegler said. “It’s a great way to get to know other students and have conversations about different hot topics.”