So…what IS Public Health?



now it is my pleasure to introduce the Stephanie Reinhardt candidate for the degree of Master of Public Health who will now give the Susan address for the public health last 2007 faculty staff family and friends today's an important day for us graduates yes today represented the day we will embark on careers where we plan to change the world and all that good stuff but more importantly today represent the last day we will ever have to explain to anyone else what exactly we're studying in grad school yes the age-old question what is public health and you guys I'd be willing to bet that most of you have found yourself in a conversation that went something like you're at a holiday party on the tee on a date if you're grad school social life was better than mine pretty much anywhere you might find yourself in public and someone says oh during grad school what you studying and you pause and you look at them with a slightly awkward grin because you know exactly what's about to happen and you reply public health and I've been willing to wager $100 and please don't hold me to that because student loan repayments start any minute and out but you get one of the six standard responses many of you graduates you've heard these before and many of you in the audience have probably actually said these before the honor of this woman's day I'd like to share all this one here number two oh public-health nice honey what's number three great I'm gonna be inspecting restaurants in the area because I am pretty sure that Billy's on third you should really do something about that number four it's a conspiracy right number five public health as opposed to private and number six my personal favorite um oh don't worry I'm sure you'll be reapplied in that school this is extender responses you guys know that yes these have been some of the biggest challenges to overcome in grad school I would plane to everyone else what exactly were doing here perhaps part of the problem is that public health is so broad and it's really difficult to explain that public health is pretty much everything that's on mildly biased fitness in the words of our program director of dr. Tyler's lab public health is an applied form of social justice we've learned that public health is understanding that the spread of disease is not simply biological but it is largely social political and economic it is knowing that some of the most powerful influences on health such as education food supply environmental hazards and work conditions have little to do with the formal health sector and it is recognizing that the benefits of modern medicine do real good if they're not affordable and accessible to those most in need we are in public health because we refuse to accept the world as it is now we cannot accept the fact that roughly 8,000 people died of aids-related causes every day in a developing world despite the fact that highly effective anti retrovirals have been in existence for over a decade we cannot accept the fact that 47 million Americans are uninsured despite the fact that we have per capita healthcare expenditures nearly double that of other industrialized nations we cannot accept the fact that residents of poor community and communities of color disproportionately suffer the effects of toxic contamination and hazardous something in their neighborhoods we cannot accept the fact that the asthma rate for children living in Dorchester is more than double that the rest of the state and we cannot accept the fact that sexual education is based on political ideology rather than scientific evidence see try explaining that on a first date fellow graduates we leave here today with the responsibility to take action against these things that you do not accept it is on us to stand up and say health care is not a privilege of the rich in the words of dr. Paul Farmer I can't show you how exactly health care is a basic human right but what I can argue is that no one should have to die of disease that is treatable our class will be here today and implement this version of public health in many different contexts whether working to build healthy communities and safe spaces increasing access to affordable health care fighting for healthy school lunches or opening clinics and underserved areas we will mark on careers that attempt to equalize opportunity and housing our experience at tufts has given us the skills and knowledge necessary to start crafting a world where one's health status is no longer a reflection of his or her socioeconomic status race gender sexual orientation or neighborhood a world where the child of a poor family has the same right to a healthy future of the child of a rich family we are now truly in a position we can affect change and I urge you all to take your knowledge and new skills and make a difference as dr. Seuss says at the end of the Lorax unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better it's not my mom has this huge grin on her face and I haven't wrote it dr. seuss my commencement graduate but in all seriousness it's these lessons from children's books the ones that our parents read to us over and over and over again than many of us carry with us today so in honor of my mom the children the children's book queen and all of the other parents that read to us so many times I'm going to leave you all with one more dr. Seuss quote this one from oh the places you'll go congratulations today is your day you're off to great places you're off it away you have brains in your head you have feet in your shoes you can steer yourself any direction you choose you're on your own and you know what you know and you are the guy who will decide where to go I wish you all the best of luck and tons of happiness in the future class of 2007 thank you for a wonderful experience

28 thoughts on “So…what IS Public Health?

  1. i want to pursue a career in public health. How do i go about it? am currently in my sixth year and last year of medicine

  2. I am a current student pursuing the same and I feel thrilled and happy to be in the field. I believe many opportunities exists and more importantly changing people lives Will be our greatest achievement in the field

  3. Later this week I am planning on changing my major to Public Health and hearing her speech has confirmed even more that I'm making the right decision.

  4. I watched this video when I first embarked on my journey in Public Health and it has been a great inspiration. It still make me laugh every time I watch it, about how true. I sure struggle explaining what I do (or want to do) on a first or tenth date even 🙂
    As someone determined to dedicate my life to PH , it is both extremely inspiring and intimidating to think about all the potential it has to make a positive change in this crazy world!

  5. Despite I am professor in one of the low income countries, we are indeed facing such questions raised by not only people far from the medical background but from some of our colleges those even were together in medical school. It was good encouragement for all graduates from Public health and Epidemiology which is usually mis-classified as Dermatology (clinical oriented people)

  6. Great video. Good to see that this question is being asked (and so interestingly answered). Public health is often misunderstood – good to see the "What is public health" question being dealt with here on YouTube.

  7. I'm graduating with my MPH a month from now, thank you for sharing this! I highly relate to your speech. Love the quote from The Lorax. Good luck!

  8. she is confident and raise up strong evidence data, may be after seen the video there are a lot of people will have strong knowledge on public health. thank for your introduction
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  9. She didn't have social life ?? I don't believe .. She is rare type of female .. Smart and beautiful .. She not having social life is impossible unless she studied in female only school 🙂

  10. we refuse to accept the fact…yes I get it…but…HOW? after all I still dont understand what public health is

  11. This was an incredible speech that was short and to the point. Congrats to her! 🙂 I couldn't have fallen upon this video at a better time in my life. I have decided to go through the Public Health route before medical school after a thought-provoking course I took last semester. Her six comments are soooo true…and I love the Seuss quotes 🙂

  12. 4:50 "We're in public health because we refuse to accept the world as it is now".

    I am a currently an undergrad student, my major being psychology and minor being *Public Health. I have my first test in about an hour. I came upon your video and I wanted to say your speech was great and congratulations on your accomplishment.

  13. THis one great , Public Health demand is increasing day by day ~ M also student of public health and i have also same problem of answering abt what a public health is it ?? But this video give me an answer to tell some thing abt PUBLIC HEALTH

  14. Thank you for this WONDERFUL speech… I am pursing higher studies in Public Health and it's true – we are doinf social justice….. thank you…

  15. I'm just a stranger that stumbled upon this EXCELLENT SPEECH BY STEPHANIE!!!! GREAT JOB!!!

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