In the College of Public Health (CPH), we train health champions.
Champion has different meanings. It can mean someone who is a victor, the winner. It can also mean someone who fights for a cause or works on behalf of others. So, what does a health champion mean here?
In the College of Public Health, health champion is a verb, an action word. We train people who fight, work, strive, struggle, persist for the health of others. Here, our health champions fight for prevention – our work is needed to keep communities from harm, from disease, from injury.
Health champions solve problems. Public health problems are complex, involving perceptions, stigma, and behaviors. They include a person’s history, what has happened to them in their lives. Public health problems include chemistry, biologic mechanisms, and math. It matters where a person lives, where they grew up, who influences them and how they first learned about health.
Our work in public health never occurs in isolation – this is a field where you cannot do it alone. Public health is team science. Our approach to solving problems is made better because we work together.
Our community comprises many different backgrounds and disciplines. On campus, our College has some of the highest percentages of first-generation college enrollees, underrepresented minorities, and learners from Appalachia. We also have scholar-athletes, dual degree-seekers, and non-traditional students.
Students who find their home in the College of Public Health tell us they discover a sense of place within our programs. It’s not because of our classrooms, building, or even curriculum. It is our people and the relationships that form as we work for the health of others, together, as a community.
The people of our College come to public health from many pathways – our training is often as diverse as our people. Each one of us belongs here. We belong here because we share a commitment to making a difference. We belong here because we believe that the health of others deserves a champion. We belong here because we know that prevention is possible. You belong here, too.
On behalf of the faculty and staff of the College, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the UK College of Public Health.
-Heather M. Bush, PhD, Acting Dean