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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Carls channel study-abroad experiences in public health discussion

<st Tuesday, Carleton students who recently studied abroad in health-related off-campus programs formed a discussion panel to share their experiences and give advice to students who were interested in pursuing similar programs in the future. Students talked about their encounters with public health in Europe, Africa, and South America and how it relates to their studies at Carleton.

Panel member Kate Atkins ’11, a Biology major, went to Denmark to explore health care. Through the program, Atkins received hands-on experiences working in Danish hospitals and studying biomedical ethics in Sweden and Estonia. “Being able to see the human side of it has influenced how I view my studies [and] in-class learning,” she said. “[My experiences] were an ‘a-ha moment’ for deciding I wanted to become a physician.”

Oumar Diallo ’12, a SOAN major, also went on a Denmark program to study public healthcare in Northern Europe. He explained that the program emphasized a team-oriented type of learning, not unlike the style of classes at Carleton. “I was able to interact with many healthcare professionals,” said Diallo, giving him a more complete understanding of the field.
Fellow panel members Charlotte Turovsky ’11 and Elana Rosenberg-Carlson ’12 both recently travelled to Africa to learn more about long-term public health care. “My experiences challenged me to think about all the different aspects of what it means to grow up healthy,” said Turovsky, went to Durbin, South Africa.

Rosenberg-Carlson journeyed to Mutumbu, Kenya, where she focused on the accessibility of malaria treatments. “I studied the interactions between human health and the health of the environment,” she said. She also observed the intricate interconnectedness between the two, especially how the health of one is heavily influenced by the health of the other.
Members of the student panel agreed that their respective decisions to go abroad were highly influenced by classes taken at Carleton. From introductory freshman seminars to more specialized sophomore and junior courses, each panelist was convinced that their classes had helped spark their passion.

In addition to the panel, representatives from Academic Civic Engagement (ACE) were present to inform about local programs involving public health. Such programs of note include Claire House, HealthFinders, and Carls Against Cancer.
According to a representative, “ACE seeks to tie together your interest, from the moment you get to Carleton, to the classes you take, to your volunteering and research.” Recently, ACE has worked with local schools to monitor air quality in schools and school buses in Northfield. Over the next year, there will also be classes featuring a nutrition component to explore the importance and effects of dietary choices on health.

The possibilities for pursuing public health as an academic interest at Carleton are virtually unlimited. Faculty and staff are enthusiastically willing to help an inquisitive student find the best avenue for his or her passion. As Diallo simply put it, “always pursue your interests.”

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