Atlanta: Public Health Capital of the World

By: Madison Lee – Environmental Health

With graduate school decisions, there can be plenty of lists, spreadsheets, and sticky notes listing out the pros and cons. During my decision-making-process, I listed out pros and cons ranging from the courses and research publications of the program  all the way to the nearby football team and weather forecast. On my list for Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, it was easy enough to put that Rollins gained the new rank of #5 for ‘Best Public Health Schools’ in the nation by the U.S. News & World report, as well as Rollins’ partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Though it wasn’t until Visit Emory that I learned that Rollins has several other partnerships with prominent public health agencies and organization to make Atlanta the public health capital of the world.

These partnerships extend beyond the Rollins alumni and faculty; there are opportunities for students to engage in research and work with the public health agencies and organizations through a REAL (Rollins Earn and Learn) position, APE (Applied Practice Experience), or internship.

So what are other agencies and organizations contributing to the public health capital of the world?

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a “nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem.” Their national headquarters is based in Atlanta. Their contribution to the public health sector includes their institutional research grant to the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory.


CARE is a non-profit organization and “global leader within a worldwide movement dedicated to ending poverty” that reaches 63 million people through 950 programs. Though CARE works in 93 countries, the international headquarters in Atlanta. At the international headquarters, CARE offers students research opportunities that span several of the departments at Rollins! They work with governments to ensure long-term political commitment of policies and resources that extend sexual and reproductive health and rights, increase access to clean water, and increase access to health supplies and workers.

Carter Center

The Carter Center is a nongovernmental organization that was founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (and University Distinguished Professor at Emory) and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory. The Carter Center is responsible for several health program and peace programs. A couple health programs at the Carter Center include the Guinea Worm Eradication Program, Hispaniola Initiative, International Task Force for Disease Eradication, and Mental Health Program.

The Task Force for Global Health

The Task Force for Global Health was founded by former CDC Director, Dr. Bill Foege, and his colleagues Carol Walters and Bill Watson. They were initially founded to increase global childhood immunization rates and expanded to address more global health needs such as disease surveillance, coordinating medicines, medical equipment and supplies, and fighting trachoma.

While the CDC, ACS, CARE, Carter Center, and Task Force are the only organizations listed here, this just serves as a snapshot of the public health capital of the world! There are other agencies, including state and regional health agencies, contributing to the opportunity for Rollins students to learn through hands-on research and seminar series!

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