I LOVE Public Health. I remember when I was getting my undergraduate degree, I would always be on the waiting lists for the Public Health Classes because they were always so popular. I even become a teaching assistant for an introductory course and learned so much for my students. When I found out that the program I was accepted to for medical school offered a dual Master’s in Public Health program I was ECSTATIC. I decided to apply for the program because in the future I want to implement some of the concepts in my own practice and even dive deeper into public health research. I have mentioned in my previous posts a bit about what I have learned and in this post, I want to discuss yet another concept to expose to those that are not familiar the amazing field of public health.
Just this past week we were introduced to the health belief model. This model was developed to predict patient behavior regarding health-related decisions. It is the basis for many preventative measures such as colon and breast cancer screenings. For example, in order to increase the rate of people who are willing to get a colonoscopy, we must consider various variables before constructing a campaign promoting the need for screening.
These variables included perceived severity (how susceptible individuals are to the disease in questions), modifying factors (age, sex, gender, socioeconomic status), perceived benefit (what are the benefits of getting a screening or medication for the disease in question), and perceived barriers (what is preventing patients from getting screened, vaccinated, etc).
Prior to this course, I was not aware of the foundation needed to create upstream approaches towards preventing disease. Furthermore, I was able to share my new found knowledge with my family and friends which I think is another unique characteristic of public health. You see, anyone can join the discussion regardless of their background due to the simplicity of the concepts taught.
Have you taken a public health course? If so, what has been your favorite topic?