The UT Southern Public Health Education Program Expands into the Community

Category: Features

By Susan Carlisle

Graduating its second cohort this spring, the UT Southern public health education program prepares students to serve the whole person and to understand how life can affect people and a community.

Karen Ferguson, program founder and coordinator, designed assignments that require students to develop and implement a community service project related to assisting public health. These projects, in many instances, developed from clinical experiences, assist the underserved and give students experience dealing with nonprofit public health programs.

Karen Ferguson
Karen Ferguson

“Assisting the community with meeting basic needs is an integral part of the public health education program,” she said.

Emily Crone, a senior from Buffalo, New York, developed a successful program in response to a need she identified during her clinicals in Lawrenceburg at A Kid’s Place, which advocates for and assists sexually and physically abused children.

She noticed groupings of items—ranging from toothbrushes, deodorant, diapers, shampoo and more—made available free to those who attended A Kid’s Place. She collected donations of hygiene items, warm clothes for cold weather, coloring books and crayons.

“It truly opened my eyes to the number of families who unfortunately go without these items and don’t know where to turn,” she said.

From a young age, Crone watched her father work 40 hours a week and then volunteer as a fireman/EMT. Following in his footsteps, she decided to pursue the bachelor’s degree in public health education and then continue her education by completing a master’s degree in epidemiology and then specializing in cancer research.