Public health students surge at UAB, epidemiology students nearly double


Public health students surge at UAB, epidemiology students nearly double

The number of students enrolled at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health jumped 61 percent in 2020, reflecting the “Fauci effect” and the prominence of public health professionals during the pandemic.

Enrollment in epidemiology, the study of how diseases spread, jumped 92 percent at UAB.

“It is no surprise that a worldwide pandemic created interest in the field of public health,” said Dr. Paul Erwin, dean of the UAB School of Public Health.

According to U.S. News and World Report, the UAB School of Public Health ranks 17th in the nation. The school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in epidemiology, biostatistics, health behaviors and policy.

The increased interest in public health professions was greater in Alabama than in other parts of the country. According to the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, applications to graduate programs increased by just 23 percent nationwide last year compared to 2019.

Across the country, interest in health careers rose during the pandemic. Applications to medical schools also increased in 2020 as health professionals battled the spread of COVID-19.

The virus turned Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, into a celebrity. Local and state health officers also emerged as key figures during the pandemic, often enacting drastic restrictions on businesses and individuals to control the spread of COVID.

Haley Greene, an epidemiologist at the Virginia Department of Health, graduated from the UAB School of Public Health in 2020. She said the pandemic shaped the interests of several students in her class.

“I have noticed several public health students switch their interest in chronic disease to infectious disease, along with an influx of individuals interested in public health careers,” Greene said. “I believe it is an exciting time for early-career public health professionals, as there are many opportunities now and into the future.”


Source link