Public Health major offers new ministry opportunities for university students

It’s no secret that it’s the sick who need a doctor.

Past the call of Mark 2:17, the Academics Department at Johnson University is excited to answer that call in a unique way with the Public Health major, to be launched fall 2015.

This will allow students to educate others internationally and locally on how to stay healthy and prevent diseases.

“It’s a way of reaching a group of individuals that Johnson may have not reached thus far. They can do mission work, but they would be focusing on health education within different countries, which is a great need,” said Cindy Norton, Professor of Health Education at Johnson University.

“Global health and community health is really escalating and the need is definitely there– internationally as well as domestically.”

The Public Health major is under consideration of the accrediting bodies and Norton along with others are highly confident it will gain accreditation soon, and the program will be launched.

Norton, who has had experience with Public Health, including a bachelor’s from the University of Tennessee in Physical Education, a master’s in Safety Education and Services, plus a Ph.D. in Education with a focus in Health offers a wealth of understanding to the creation of this major.

She has also taught 27 years at the University of the Cumberlands, in Williamsburg, Kentucky. During that time, she served 11 years as Department Chair of Health, Exercise and Sport Science.

According to Norton, students with a Public Health degree will act as health advocates, who will be able to work in global and community health programs. They will also have the opportunity to use an Interdisciplinary major with Health and Intercultural Studies from core courses in the Intercultural Studies program.

Kealy Mead, Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the school of Arts and Sciences, shared her excitement for the program. Mead graduated from Milligan’s first Nursing program and has been in practice for over 18 years.

Mead in her office organizing new majors and programs.

Mead in her office organizing new majors and programs.

“I think its something very different, Johnson has never stepped into that health realm. It will take some time to grow,” Mead said. “I do think it will be a very popular choice because of how global everything has become.”

Classes will be phased in by year so students can begin their specialization early.

Students will take Intro to Public Health which will educate students about the major and possible careers, and they will also take classes such as Nutrition and Study of Disease.

“They will go into the community and assist individuals in gaining access to the resources that they need, they provide health education,” Norton said. “They allow the community to take an active lead in moving and providing this information.”

The Public Health major will allow students to use their specialization to empower those across cultures to aid their own people and continue the cycle of learning and recycling knowledge.

However, the major is not limited to one location. Possible jobs in the United States would be available through Public Health departments on the local or state level.  Students could go into schools and offer health education about hygiene, drugs, and even decision making skills, according to Norton.

This degree is foundational in that students may want to go on elsewhere and get a nursing degree.

Academics at Johnson are growing in every avenue and this major caters to a diverse group of potential students. The implementation of courses will begin soon and students will have the chance to respond to worldwide epidemics and educate those who may not have had the resources to prevent illness before.