Personal Narrative: My Trip To The Field Of Public Health

Decent Essays
When I was a kid, I loved going to the hospital.

It was magical – so many people and things working in perfect rhythm, carefully constructed rules in place to keep everyone safe and informed, and puzzles constantly being solved by all the moving parts inside. It was more than a well-oiled machine; it was a living, breathing being. I didn’t know it yet, but here began my interest in the field of public health and the many areas it encompasses in its approach to keeping the world safe.

When asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I could only say I wanted to work in a hospital. Though fascinated by the ways that diseases travelled and strategies used to slow them, I had little interest in giving shots or reading charts. I wanted to learn
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We read a book by Claire Sterk, a medical anthropologist and public health researcher who did fieldwork within communities of sex workers during the AIDS epidemic. Sterk discusses how to improve the health of communities by getting to know them and communicating with them on their terms. This type of work is about respect, and it has made a difference. Sterk’s writings resonated with me and pushed me to read more about public health and medical…show more content…
Being able to interact with these women in a safe space has opened my mind up to the variety of reasons traditional health education might not reach them. Sometimes the barriers are economic, as in the case of women who grew up in poverty, unable to access doctors. Sometimes they are psychological, as in the case of sexual abuse. Sometimes they are tied up in addiction, language barriers or religious restrictions. It is often a combination of these factors. To each woman experiencing these barriers, the struggle is a huge part of their life. The complex variety of obstacles they (and we all) face in the pursuit of healthy lives highlights the world’s need for public health professionals to analyze what prevents communities from being healthy - and how we might fix
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