Health

SDSU Imperial Valley to Open New Public Health Major | Information Center

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health, slated to begin in fall 2024, will examine environmental health issues that are important in the Imperial Valley.

Miguel Zavala, an associate professor at SDSU Imperial Valley’s School of Public Health, has seen damage to local agricultural landscapes in his hometown near Guanajuato, Mexico, from what he said was the result of the activities. manufacturing industries. The effects were so profound, he said, that many of his close relatives began to have health problems.

“When you’re in a small, tight-knit community that works in agriculture or manufacturing every day, your motivation is to provide for your family and get ahead with your professional duties,” Zavala said. . “Yet when you see people around you start to get sick to the point of being hospitalized, it opens your eyes to the long-term disparities that a harmful environment has on individuals of all ages.”

At the time, Zavala had little knowledge of environmental health as it relates to the study of public health. Drawing on his personal experiences, Zavala’s current research focuses on air pollution.

Zavala, alongside Assistant Professors of Environmental Health Linda Lara-Jacobo and Kai-Chung Cheng, will launch SDSU Imperial Valley’s new Bachelor of Science in Public Health program to bolster the number of local public health professionals in the region. The program is expected to be offered in the fall of 2024.

“We have passionate and dedicated students who see the impacts of water and air pollution in our region and want to bring lasting change to our community,” said Guillermina Gina Nunez-Mchiri, Dean of SDSU Imperial Valley. “Our new public health major will expand career opportunities and strengthen a powerful pool of local experts to increase the advocacy, support and research we need in the Imperial Valley.”

The work of public health professionals involves ongoing research to develop, implement and evaluate programs aimed at reducing threats to the health of individuals. According to Zavala, public health professionals are also heavily involved in connecting with community members through advocacy, education, and creating countywide resources that will improve their quality of life. .

“Public health is a community issue,” Zavala said. “You root yourself in the socio-economic health disparities people experience and find action-based solutions that will make a difference in the lives of those you care about. For me, it has been a very rewarding journey.

The new Bachelor of Science in Public Health program will specialize in the disciplines of epidemiology, environmental health, occupational health, health services administration, and behavioral health. Through this program, students will have internship opportunities with regional organizations to gain employment in hospitals, government agencies, international programs, private/volunteer agencies, and clinics. Students can also pursue a master’s degree in public health at SDSU.

SDSU Imperial Valley’s new public health program builds on the university’s work to continue to expand its degree offerings and student support services. In May 2022, the university announced the creation of a new accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program prior to licensure. The SDSU Imperial Valley BSN program offers freshmen the opportunity to complete their BSN in three years and transfer eligible students in two years.

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