We asked our student ambassadors to examine the evolution of public health over the past 100 years and how they see it continuing to evolve over the next 100 years.
Kate Colpetzer, Epidemiology student
When thinking about how much public health has advanced over the past 100 years, there are many things that I feel are the most vital to the health of our nation.
In light of recent events, despite being heavily politicized, abortion and reproductive health are key achievements that public health must strive to restore and rebuild. The overturning of Roe v. Wade is a step back for all of public health and what it stands for. Maternal and infant mortality rates will rise even higher than before. On top of that, this decision will disproportionately affect poor and black women.
In the next 100 years, I hope abortion and women’s health rights will have been restored. On top of that, I hope states conduct actionable steps to decrease their mortality rates for mothers and infants. Abortion is a public health issue. The lack of abortion access is a public health crisis.
Ameriah Jackson, Health Systems Management student
This week I will be sharing my views on public health development in the upcoming future. In the future, I imagine a diverse reflection of communities in health services. We need to create environments in health care facilities that reflect who we serve.
This establishes a trust between patients and physicians, as well as changes the entire dynamic of public health. Statistics show that diverse work environments lead to innovation, more creative solutions, and improved employee performance.
To shift health care from traditional to diverse would be one of the greatest developments in public health.
Lucy Khatib, Epidemiology student
Public health has made monumental strides to help the general welfare of the people; a few examples of this are the implementation of laws for seat belts and fluorine.
In the future, I believe that the next big step in public health will be a greater presence of Syringe Service Programs in more communities. These programs involve safe needle disposal, counseling, and resources. Safe needle disposal encourages people to keep from reusing or sharing needles, which can lead to the spread of HIV or hepatitis.
This infographic shows the public health data that demonstrates the success of these programs in communities. Injection drug use devastates not only the injector but their family and their community.
Through IUPUI I was able to attend a panel featuring those who had contracted HIV through injection drug use. Hearing their stories, their pain and strength, was an eye-opening experience. It is a very different experience to read a headline about an HIV outbreak than it is to look at the people who are directly affected.
A lot of the panelists mentioned how isolated they felt when they were diagnosed. They had limited resources and did not know how to handle the effects going forward, nor did they know much about the disease. These issues are what the SSPs directly address.
SSPs will help benefit communities and help those who are struggling with injection drug use or are in recovery. With more funding, support, and local implementation, this would be a great step for public health.
Jaida Speth, Health Services Management student
The advances public health has made over the last 100 years have been nothing short of astonishing—from seatbelts in cars to family planning to the recognition of tobacco as a health hazard.
As we move from infectious diseases to chronic diseases, the world of public health has been introduced to much more complex issues. Although unsure of what the next 100 years will look like for public health, I am hopeful that it will evolve to prioritize the health issues arising due to climate change and health equity, or lack thereof.
The World Health Organization attributed 11% of U.S. mortality in 2012 (nearly 300,000 deaths) to environmental causes and that number has only risen over the last decade.
Health inequity has led to human suffering and unfair disadvantages for achieving good health. It has also increased financial costs.
I have become passionate about these topics during my time as an FSPH student receiving a bachelor’s degree in Health Services Management with a minor in Epidemiology.