Public Health program

Public Health

Health Ethics, Advocacy, and Leadership

Public health integrates social and health sciences with policy and ethics, bringing multiple skills and perspectives to bear on complex 21st-century health challenges. Public health practitioners tackle issues like disease prevention, access to care and environmental health — issues that affect communities around the globe. At Willamette, students who are part of the Health Ethics, Advocacy, and Leadership program in public health build strong foundations in the major and have options for graduate-level coursework in health law and management at our two outstanding graduate professional schools.

Throughout their time as undergraduates, students address pressing health-related issues. Willamette students have worked with communities, in laboratories and in collaboration with Salem-area partners to investigate vaccine coverage, emergency preparedness, food security, legislation and policies related to the human life cycle, the impact of climate change on dengue fever, and the possible carcinogenic effects of a common sunscreen ingredient. They’ve presented their work at local and national conferences, and they’ve collaborated with professors to publish their findings in scientific journals.

These types of experiences — combined with the university’s interdisciplinary approach to public health — prepare our students for the workplace or further professional training. Students who want to improve public health and well-being by working at a government agency or nonprofit organization have the option of taking relevant health law and management courses at Willamette’s College of Law and Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

In addition, as part of our accelerated dual-degree programs, students can combine a BA in public health with an MBA and finish both degrees in five years instead of six. And if they want to devote their career to public health law, policy and advocacy, they can combine a BA in public health with a law degree at Willamette’s College of Law and finish both degrees in six years instead of seven.

Wherever their career paths lead, our students learn how to effectuate positive change by tackling social and health challenges holistically, from multiple disciplinary vantage points, and through in-class and community-based instruction.