Decide if a public health degree is worth it by listening to a current student in Concordia’s public health program. Nataysia Swopes shares her calling to serve in public health. Discover her interests within public health, and how much she has learned in her final year of the program. If you’re new to public health, don’t miss this article where we explain the basics of public health.

What interests you about public health?

My biggest interest in public health is maternal and infant mortality. Research has shown that black and brown women and children are dying at a disproportionate rate compared to their white counterparts. I feel called to improve that statistic within public health. I am a black woman that may one day have children. Several minority women and children are part of my family and friend group and I want to help keep them alive and healthy. I am passionate about advocating for others and helping people learn to advocate for themselves.

The health literacy rate in America is very low. This is defined as the ability to access, understand, and act on information and services that inform health-related decisions. If you cannot properly understand what you are hearing about your health, you cannot advocate for yourself. I want to help minorities, and all individuals, understand their healthcare options and how to fight for what they want and deserve.

What public health career do you envision for yourself?

I want to become a Certified Nurse Midwife. I am passionate about women’s health and want to serve the female population the best way I can.

The key principles of public health are prevention and health equity. Which one interests you more and why?

I would choose health equity. I believe health equity will lead to better prevention, and then that will help improve the overall health of people and the population. A lot of health complications occur because everyone is not treated equitably.

If you take a look at a community and assess their needs, you would see that there are many different social determinants of health. These social determinants keep individuals from having equitable treatment and equitable access to healthcare. I believe that people should not be scared to seek medical help and should expect to be treated fairly.

What has been your favorite public health course?

Dr. Arletta Frazier taught the course, A Public Health Perspective on Community, Culture, and Advocacy” that I really liked. I love how open she was with her students and how comfortable she made us feel as we discussed sensitive issues regarding race and cultures.

What concentration have you chosen, community health or pre-clinical, and why?

I am on the community health track in the public health program. I’m passionate about helping people advocate for themselves, and health literacy interests me as well. I think that being on the community track is a good stepping stone for me and it has helped me to hone in on my passion. It is giving me the tools to really make a difference.

Do you participate in extracurricular activities at Concordia?

I am the Black Student Union President and I serve as a Resident Assistant in the Katharine dorm. I am an academic senator in the Student Government Organization. And I’m a Concordia cheerleader!

Now you can probably see that a public health degree is worth it because it gives you the opportunity to become a knowledgeable and influential figure in your health community.