WMU public health students and faculty present at annual meeting

A group of faculty and students from the School of Interdisciplinary Health Programs traveled to the annual meeting of the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) in Columbus, Ohio, in April. A total of seven undergrads, two graduate students and five faculty from WMU public health programs attended the two-day event.

Drs. Bensley and Aduroja with students at the annual meeting

Drs. Amos Aduroja, Robert Bensley, Cassie Jeng and Shannon McMorrow presented a total of seven projects or research papers, two of which were presented with students. MPH students Jozzlyn Richards and Chad Atwood presented with Dr. McMorrow, while undergraduate student Alexa Allen presented a session with Drs. Aduroja and Bensley that pertained to food deserts surrounding university communities.

Allen, Heggie and McDowell

Alexa Allen, Kristen Heggie and Miranda McDowell placed third in the National Public Health Case Study competition. All three students are in the Bachelor of Science in Public Health program at WMU. Additionally, Kristen Heggie was selected as Western Michigan University's representative for the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing Health Education Major of the Year.

“It’s remarkable that we have so many graduate and undergraduate students in this discipline engaged and presenting at this annual meeting,” says Dr. Bensley. “Our undergraduate students placed third in the case study competition and Kristen was recognized as a national health education student of the year. I think that says a lot about the quality of our students at WMU.”

WMU Eta Sigma Gamma health education honorary was selected from 100 university chapters to exhibit alongside the National Eta Sigma Gamma office at the annual meeting. Eta Sigma Gamma is aligned with the public health program in the School of Interdisciplinary Health Programs. Drs. Aduroja and Bensley serve as chapter sponsors.

About public health at WMU

The Master of Public Health program launched in 2015. It's a hybrid program that meets face-to-face in WMU's Downtown Grand Rapids location one or two times each semester, with the bulk of the coursework taking place online. It is a generalist degree designed to prepare leaders for this exciting field, including core areas in public health: biostatistics, environmental health sciences, eidemiology, health services administration and health education and health behavior.

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health began in the College of Health and Human Services and School of Interdisciplinary Health Programs in the fall of 2017. Previously, it was the Community Health Education program in the College of Education and Human Development. The program prepares students for careers in government-based public health agencies, nonprofit organizations, managed care organizations, medical and hospital centered education settings and corporate health promotion settings. In addition, the program is appropriate for students interested in pursuing a master’s degree in public health (MPH), community health (MS) or health promotion (MS).