Incoming students to the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School Of Public Health can ‘plunge’ into their areas of study by participating in various forms of community service.
Cindy Bryce, associate dean for student affairs, said about 140 of the 220 incoming students to the program have signed up to take part in “Plunge into Public Health and Pittsburgh” Thursday.
“It’s eight different opportunities that the students have either to learn something about public health in the form of a workshop or a lecture or to be involved in public health community oriented events throughout the Pittsburgh area,” Bryce said.
One of these events is a tour of Global Links in Greentree where students can help pack medical supplies.
“Global Links is an organization that provides medical relief and has a mission of taking materials that can still be used for health purposes and redirecting materials that would otherwise go into landfills and sending them to developing countries that have a need and a use for them,” Bryce said.
Some students will help the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank sort and repackage groceries or assist the Braddock Free Store Service Project in distributing donated goods to the community.
They can also attend various discussions on topics ranging from ethical issues to the danger of smoking.
Bryce said ‘Plunge’ provides students the opportunity to become more involved in the community as well as exposes them to other specialties within their field.
“Public health is very multi-disciplinary, and even students who know they want to go to a school of public health may only have a good understanding of what they want to study and what they want to pursue,” Bryce said. “And what we’re trying to do is help them see their field and their discipline in the larger context of public health throughout the community.”
The University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health has seven departments ranging from Infectious Diseases and Microbiology to Environmental and Occupational Health.