By: Susanna Trost – 1st Year – Epidemiology
As students at Rollins, we are lucky to live in a city full of opportunities to explore the field of public health outside of the classroom setting. Right next to Rollins is the David J. Spencer CDC Museum. Filled with information about the history of the CDC and its work to combat outbreaks, this museum is an excellent way to learn more about the role of public health throughout history. Even those who have been to the museum before will find something new since the temporary exhibits highlight the latest discoveries and research in public health. Open Monday-Friday with free admission, this museum is a must for all public health enthusiasts.
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is another resource right here in Atlanta. Almost every week there is a different lecture, film screening, or book discussion on a wide range of topics, many related to health. Attending these events is a great way to learn something new or meet the author of a book you loved. Even better, most of these events are free, and all upcoming events are posted on the museum website.
If you’re interested in a more boots-on-the-ground approach to public health, the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) hosts a conference every spring in Atlanta. Registration is free, and this conference is full of poster presentations and lectures related to the work of EIS officers, also known as the disease detectives. This conference occurs over many days, and you are free to attend as many or as few events as you would like based on your interests. Beyond gaining insight into the latest outbreaks, conferences are great networking opportunities.
Want something a little more hands on? Atlanta offers many opportunities to combine your passion for public health with community service. All first-year students participate in a service project during orientation, but there are plenty of opportunities to continue serving the local community. MedShare is an organization right here in Atlanta that provides excess medical supplies and equipment to underserved areas around the world. Signing up to volunteer is easy, and they are always excited to have new volunteers. Another great organization is the Atlanta Hospital Hospitality House (AHHH). AHHH provides lodging to patients at local Atlanta hospitals and their family or caregivers. Volunteers are needed to help prepare meals, greet guests, and assist with a variety of tasks around the house. These volunteer positions are great opportunities to learn how public health is improving your own community.
After a long day of public health and service, take some time to relax and enjoy one of the many free fitness classes offered around the city. Yoga is offered outside every Sunday night at the Old 4th Ward Skatepark or every fourth Monday of the month in Piedmont Park. If you’re looking for something a little more intense, Stone Mountain is a great spot for hiking and enjoying the beautiful Georgia weather.
Whatever your interests in public health are, Atlanta offers an array of options for exploring this field beyond Rollins. It is easy to get caught up in schoolwork, so take some time to explore the wonderful opportunities right outside our door.