Public Health at Oberlin College

What is public health?
Public Health is a population-based practice of health promotion and disease prevention. It is a dynamic field that encompasses a variety of sub-disciplines, including, but not limited to: Community Health, Behavior and Society, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Immunology, Global Health, Maternal and Child Health, Nutrition, Health education, Environmental and Occupational Health, Mental Health, Health Communication, Health Policy and leadership.

Pre-Med students are required to take many of the general and 200-level science courses. Regardless of your plans to go to medical school, taking some science will be beneficial to your future in public health. In general, this list is by no means exhaustive. Interdisciplinarity is one of the key features of public health, and thus an interdisciplinary undergraduate education and background is crucial for a solid grounding in the field.
*Signifies a course that should be taken by students interested in public health

• Global Health Encounters (478)
• Sick (321)
• Health Careers Practicum (030)
• Organismal Biology (100/1) *
• Genetics, Evolution and Ecology (102) *
• Cell and Molecular Biology (113/114) *
• Disease Ecology (206)
• Immunology (327)
• Virology (329)
• Emerging Infectious Diseases seminar (405)
Comparative American Studies
• Global Health Emergencies (337)
• Disease, Democracy and Difference (272)
• Structure and Reactivity (101) *
• Principles of Chemistry (102) *
• Topics in General Chemistry (103--counts for 101 & 102)
• Principles of Organic Chemistry (205)
• Bioorganic Chemistry (254)
• Biochemistry (374)
• Body Re-education (221)
• Introduction to Somatic Studies (105)
• Yoga
• Intro to Economics*
Environmental Studies
• Environmental Justice Literature
• Environmental Policy (208)
• Climate Change (219)
• Systems Ecology (316)
• Systems Modeling (340)
• HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa (200)... no longer offered
• Maternal Health and Black Women (300)... no longer offered
• The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience (201)
Statistics *
• Introduction to Statistics (113)
• Introduction to Biostatistics (114)
• Public policy in America (209)
• Biomedical Ethics (235)
• Issues in Medical Ethics (249)
• Theory and Practice of Community Health Education (Private reading with Lori Flood)

While there is no public health-specific advising that exists institutionally at Oberlin College (there is general pre-med and pre-health advising in Career Services), there are many faculty members in various departments and offices who may be helpful to talk to with regard to your interest in pursing a public health career. This list includes the people we have personally worked with, and is by no means exhaustive.


• Adia Benton (ANTH)
• Carol Lasser (HIST)
• Mary Garvin (BIOL)
• Meredith Raimondo (CAST)
• Peris Kibera (GSFS)
• Rebecca Whelan (BIOL)
• Robin Salter (BIOL)
• Roger Laushman (BIOL)
• Steve Volk (HIST)
• Yolanda Cruz (BIOL)
• Lori Morgan Flood (5th Year Dean, Director of the Office of Wellness)
Other faculty/staff
• Ehrai Adams (OSWell, Assistant Direct of Wellness)
• Lynne Bianci (Pre-Health Advisor, NEURO)
• LGBTQIA Community Coordinator at the MRC
• CDS/OSCA Nutritionist

Extra curricular activities
There are many, many ways to get involved in public-health related activities on and off campus. The key in investing your time outside of the classroom is to begin to develop and reflect the skills necessary to be effective in the field. Like other disciplines, these skills include leadership, creativity, problem solving and flexibility, being well-rounded, being able to work effectively in a group setting, executing and evaluating programs, and above all, being committed to community engagement.

On campus
Active Minds
American Medical Students Association (AMSA)
Co-op Nutritionist
Edmonia Lewis Center for Women and Transgender People (ELC)
HIV Educators
HIV Peer Testers
Multicultural Resource Center (MRC)
Oberlin College Dialogue Center (OCDC)
Peer Health Advocates in the Office of Student Wellness
Sexual Information Center (SIC)
Sexual Offense Policy Advocate (SOPA) in OSCA
Slow Food
Students for Reproductive Freedoms (SURF)
The Oberlin Fun Squad

Off campus

Free Clinic of Greater Cleveland
Interfaith Hospitality Network
Lorain County Rape Crisis Center
Mercy Allen Hospital
Murray Ridge
Private Practices in Oberlin
Student Health Services

Summer internships/Winter Term
Health is important to most companies, organizations and associations. In addition to the main players in the field (the Center for Disease Control--CDC, the National Institute of Health--NIH, local public health departments, etc.), many other opportunities exist to excel and learn in the field. Take advantage of Obie alums who would love to help you get involved in their field!

Again, what will end up being the most important to you and future employers is a passion for public health and showing initiative in developing the key skills listed above.

Future endeavors
There is no such thing as the “right public health path,” particularly when it comes to what you do after graduating from Oberlin. A public health graduate program might be in the cards for the following year if you have been proactive about finding public health volunteer or work experiences during your undergraduate career. Many people, however, decide to take time off to further explore the field and solidify their particular interests (because there are MANY ways to go about doing public health in the real world!).

Graduate school for public health:
Global HealthCorps:
Teach for America:
National Park Service:
Non-profit organizations

please email

Created by Jackie Mostow ’12, Laura Dellplain ’12, Mollie Nisen ’11, and Julie Christensen ‘13