Going to School in the Public Health Capital of the World

By Sarah Busby, MPH’24 in Epidemiology and Suprithi Pingle, MPH’24 in Epidemiology

Selecting which graduate school to attend can be challenging for many reasons, but one of the most important factors is deciding which school will provide the best opportunities for a developing public health professional such as yourself. Luckily, Atlanta offers tons of opportunities to public health students. From school-based experiences to engagement opportunities with community partners and major organizations around town, Atlanta offers tons of ways to get practical, hands-on skills in whichever program you choose. This city is not called the “Public Health Capital of the World” for nothing!

One of the coolest things about being a Rollins student is the amount of opportunities surrounding you at all times. Each day brings new encounters with students and faculty, new emails and communications from researchers and organizations around campus, and new opportunities involving educational experiences, research, and work. If you want to find a way to get plugged in, inspiration is everywhere. Another great thing about Rollins is that everyone is open to sharing news and advice with each other. If you mention that you’re interested in a certain topic or area of research, chances are someone in your circle will know of an opportunity or at least can point you in the right direction. And there is no limit to your options! Some of our favorite places to find new opportunities are the weekly Confounder email, the various elevators in all three RSPH buildings, communications from the Office of Career Development, and social media posts from any of the many student organizations. When your school is located right next door to the CDC, it’s hard not to find something to do. Read on to learn more about just a few of the partnerships between the Rollins School of Public Health and organizations around Atlanta that focus their work on improving public health locally and worldwide.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Building

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Speaking of the CDC, one of the best advantages of being a student at Rollins is having access to this public health giant headquartered in Atlanta. The partnership with the CDC is one of the biggest partnerships that RSPH enjoys. It allows students to hear from CDC professionals in classes and potentially work with researchers through both REAL and non-REAL positions. The CDC is the nation’s leading science-based, data-driven, service organization that protects the public’s health. For more than 70 years, they have put science into action to help children stay healthy so they can grow and learn; to help families, businesses, and communities fight disease and stay strong; and to protect the public’s health. 

Carter Center

Founded in 1982 by former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, the Carter Center is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate for human rights and alleviate human suffering. Though most famously known for the near-eradication of Guinea worm disease, the Carter Center has helped expand public health in over 80 countries through promoting mental health and strengthening health delivery systems. To date, it continues to be one of Emory’s most treasured and honored partnerships.

The Carter Center


Just one of the many few public health-related organizations in Atlanta, CARE and the Rollins School of Public Health have partnered together for more than 20 years to produce relevantly applied research and address global challenges to saving lives, defeating poverty, and achieving social justice. CARE seeks to create impactful policies and programs and has employed a large number of Rollins’ students to supply practicum opportunities to fulfill their academic and professional goals. Part of the partnership between Rollins and CARE is the capstone course, which is unique to Rollins which is available to students in several departments and allows students to utilize and gain applied public health practice skills.

The Task Force initially focused on health issues affecting children before expanding to include all populations globally. Its number of operations include the Mectizan Donation Program, which partners with Merck and Company to distribute the treatment for river blindness in Africa and Latin America, and the Malarone Donation Program, which partners with Glaxo Wellcome to provide anti-malarial drugs in endemic regions facing malarial medication resistance. With several of its staff members serving as adjunct faculty members in the Rollins School of Public Health, there’s a good chance you might be able to take one of their classes!

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society has its national headquarters in Atlanta and is a community-based, voluntary health organization with a vision of eliminating cancer. They have a wide range of services, including advocacy, research, and patient support, and have contributed to public health by conducting some of the world’s most successful and largest cancer prevention cohort studies! Many of Rollins’ students and faculty have worked with them on numerous initiatives, which includes their institutional research grant with Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute.

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