Public health undergrads spend spring break on tour
For most students spring break is a time for fun in the sun and a break from schoolwork. Not so for 12 lucky undergraduates. Their spring break was an opportunity to complete a 3-credit hour seminar: “Public Health Live on Tour!”
From March 11-16, the students trekked in and out of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties to see public health in action. Led by COPH faculty June Lake and Alison Oberne, the students rode HARTline buses to most of the tour sites. This enabled participants to access public health resources much like Tampa residents.
“If you have never been on HART and you are a public health student, you need to ride the bus,” said public health undergrad Candice Deschaine. “This is the population you will be working with on a daily basis … and it is significant to your career to understand where people are coming from.”
The tour included visits to the Hillsborough County Health Department, Tampa Shriner’s Hospital for Children, Florida Hospital Tampa, Metropolitan Ministries, and Pinellas County Waste-to-Energy Facility to name a few.
“Ask a lot of questions!,” exclaims Mia Stokes. That’s what she did to connect with community partners on the tour and find out what it’s really like to work in various fields of public health.
At the Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office commonly known as DACCO, students visited with Diana Caicedo. This time last year, Ms. Caicedo was a student on the tour now she working to promote public health in the community.
Public health undergraduate Lisa Covell shared, “I had no idea a facility such as DACCO existed and I feel very fortunate to have learned of their services”.
The tour exposed students to potential job opportunities, internship and volunteer placements, as well as the myriad of ways public health affects the community. During downtime on the bus, students interacted with each other and new friendships blossomed.
As a result of the seminar course, Alton Declaire learned “that maintaining good public health is a responsibility that goes beyond the occupation itself. It is a way of life for those involved in the process.”
This spring marks the third run for the Bus Tour. Based on the perpetual wait list, it’s a hot ticket for undergraduates and the College of Public Health!