Guess where I spent a few days this summer? Yep, you guessed right, at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. I love this logo..."Powerful ideas for a healthier world"...see photo. I felt so empowered standing in front of the School of Public Health with this logo behind me. I kept envisioning public health in Kern County and the powerful ideas we have discussed at our Hackathons and in our Bakersfield College Public Health Science classes in the Southern Central Valley.
Rewind back to June, 2018....I take a five hour plus flight from Los Angeles LAX to Boston Logan Airport, the home to Harvard School of Public Health. The goal to learn from the experts of case study at Harvard School of Public Health. Like the business school, the Harvard School of Public Health has embraced the use of case studies in their teaching approach. I attended the Teaching by Case Method: Principles and Practice for Public Health Educators. Three days with public health professionals discussing case studies, it can't get any better than that! I was thrilled, excited and thoroughly exhausted by the end of each day.
Why Case Studies?
You might ask what is a case study approach in teaching? Case studies provide real world situations (usually three to eight pages, see a database here) where students are asked to explore, analyze and yes justify their answers. The professor is a facilitator only and guide on the side. Spoiler alert, there is no one right answer or multiple choice answer a,b,c or d all of the above! What better way to learn than be immersed in a real life example and be submerged in the tricky business of life? I say yes! That is what public health people thrive on, we like to be given situations that test the systems, make us question the why and come up with new ways to think. For this reason - the divergent thinking, I am a big fan of the concept of case studies. I have dabbled in them before and the few times I have used them, the results are positive...my students light up with ideas, solutions and sometimes approaches I never thought of. Most importantly, they become active learners. That is my ultimate goal....to turn on the switch to exploration. With case studies, this self exploration occurs, students demonstrate their expertise and experiences that are invaluable. It also mimics what is expected in the job workforce where the rubber meets the road. A shout out and thank StrongWork Force Grant for underwriting this learning experience and making this possible to bring these ideas back to Bakersfield College. Special thanks to Anthony Cordovo, Cindi Swoboda, and Yoli Aguilera.
Bakersfield College students, get ready for case studies from Harvard coming your way. I am excited to incorporate new strategies into the curriculum that tie directly to the workforce.
Public Health Programs From Around the World
The second exciting part, besides being at Harvard of course...is meeting professors and professionals from public health programs across the United States. Kern County, does not have a dedicated higher education public health program, but know that this is not the norm in other communities, which have Bachelors of Science in Public Health, as well as Master Public Health Programs. This may change in the near future with California State University Bakersfield submitting for a new public health program. Pictured above are people from all over the world from faculty of Health Sciences University of Pretoria, South Africa, University of North Carolina, Gillings School of Global Public Health, to Milken Institute School of Public Health George Washington University...the list continues. I remember asking one program how many staff they had and it was around 50. Humbling, to be with so many programs but also a reminder that beyond Bakersfield College lie public health and health science programs for our students to explore.
Follow your heart and dream big BC Students!!!
Last but not least for my Bakersfield College Students....dream big and know that everything is in your reach. Where you have a passion and commitment the world will open it's doors. Here are a couple of photos for you to begin planting that seed. My path never has been a straight arrow, look....you never know the places you will go!
Fun Pictures from the adventure out East