Importance of Public Health in a Pandemic

As COVID-19 continues to hinder the lives of people, Baldwin Wallace Public Health Assistant Professor, Laura Hopkins, highlights the importance of public health during a pandemic and the impact that the outbreak has on the BW public health students.

“Public health is the science of protecting the health of populations and communities. Tackling a pandemic is the essence of public health,” said Hopkins. “Every action you are witnessing to address this pandemic is somehow connected to public health.”

Hopkins said public health has a broad spectrum that influences the information and regulations produced during the outbreak.

“The stay at home orders, public regulations, are being informed by the data being collected and analyzed and models being built by public health professionals,” said Hopkins. “All of the information on the CDC website, the commercials you are seeing on TV, the infographics on social media, are public health promotion and educational activities.”

Hopkins said that the outbreak has led faculty and students to take measures with concern for public health.

“Students and faculty in public health and across all fields are going above and beyond to put their knowledge and skills to use to help others,” said Hopkins. “In the Department of Public Health and Prevention Sciences, we have faculty and students volunteering their time to the Ohio Department of Health in several capacities. Several of our Master of Public Health students are on the frontlines of this pandemic, as are many other health professionals such as physicians, nurses, etc.”

Hopkins also said that undergraduate students began doing more in their field during the outbreak.

“Several of [our undergraduate students] work in care facilities such as nursing homes. They are picking up extra shifts at work because more hours are needed due to new protocols or to cover for individuals who are unable to work at this time,” said Hopkins.

Hopkins said that the COVID-19 outbreak has influenced students as they come to appreciate their passion even more.

“I am hearing from students that this situation has lit a fire in their passion for their chosen field,” said Hopkins.

Hopkins said that though the challenging times have created a lot of problems, it has allowed people to come together.

“While this situation is less than ideal, it is times like these that you see humanity at its finest,” said Hopkins.