About Public Health

Our Program and Courses

Public health is a major at F&M that blends perspectives from science, social science, and humanities to focus on what keeps the population healthy — and what makes it healthier. A major in public health can follow one of three concentration tracks: biology, government or sociology. You’ll study the principles and history of public health, the burden of disease, how to measure health, health in the context of human rights, the health of communities and how it is affected by community-based action, and more. 

By the time you graduate, you will be able to:

  • Discuss public health challenges at the local, state, regional, national, and international levels.
  • Evaluate and discuss multiple determinants of health — including behavioral, demographic, economic, environmental, genetic, sociological, and political — and relate these factors to their effect on health disparities and other population health concerns.
  • Analyze and critique the role of health in the public policy agenda.
  • Use multiple disciplinary methods to answer ethical questions and evaluate the effectiveness of solutions to problems.
  • Demonstrate skills of analysis, problem solving, clear writing, and critical thinking.

Curious what public health classes are like? Take a look at our course catalog to see the depth and breadth of what’s available to you.

Our Faculty and Staff

Christina L Abbott

Senior Teaching Professor of Psychology

Public Health

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Zohra Ansari-Thomas

Assistant Professor of Public Health & Sociology

Public Health

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David L Ashworth

Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Health

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Nicholas Bonneau

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Public Health

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Marco Di Giulio

Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature, Program Chair of Judaic Studies

Judaic Studies; Public Health

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Caroline L Faulkner

Associate Professor of Sociology

Public Health

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Heather F Hoffmann

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Health

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Alison Kibler

Professor of American Studies and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies

Public Health; Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

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Emily A Marshall

Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Health

Public Health

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Jen Meyer

Associate Professor of Government & Public Health, Program Chair of Public Health

Public Health; Public Policy

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Kirk Miller

B. F. Fackenthal, Jr. Professor of Biology

Public Health

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Clara S Moore

Professor of Biology

Biological Foundations of Behavior; Public Health; Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

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Samantha M Seldomridge

Academic Department Coordinator

Public Health

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Stephanie A Stoehr

Institutional Biosafety Officer and Teaching Professor of Biology

Public Health

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James Strick

Professor, Program Chair of Science, Technology and Society

Public Health

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Hollie L Tripp

Assistant Professor of Public Health

Public Health

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Learning Beyond the Classroom

Your work in public health will extend far outside the classroom. The program has a growing tradition of encouraging students’ intellectual growth through internships, networking with alumni, off-campus study, independent research, and more. Our goal is to provide close supervision and mentoring to students in the classroom and around the world.

Research Opportunities

Do you want to explore health inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic? Or dive into the methods epidemiologists use to trace and predict patterns of disease? You can do all of that at F&M. As you explore all that a public health major has to offer, you’ll discover areas or ideas you want to further explore. The best part? You won’t have to wait until graduate school to launch your investigation. 
Explore research at F&M

Internships

Internships allow you to explore fields and job functions of interest, building your portfolio while shaping and inspiring your path in both expected and unexpected ways. Recent public health student internships have involved workplace health and safety, education on the effects of climate change on health, and traveling abroad to learn about health disparities in Africa. 
Explore internships at F&M

Off-Campus Study

At F&M, public health majors have extraordinary opportunities to study in the U.S. and abroad. In recent years, students have gained experience in the field by studying the health of communities in Honduras, Vietnam, Cambodia, Argentina, Kenya, Senegal and beyond. You, too, can make study abroad integral to your experiences and research.
Explore off-campus study at F&M

Success Beyond F&M

By majoring in public health at F&M, you’ll gain a holistic outlook that provides a strong background in critical thinking, analysis, writing, and public presentation — skills in high demand in any post-graduate pursuit.

Graduate School

Many of our majors choose to pursue graduate school after F&M, with a significant number seeking advanced degrees at the finest universities in the field, including:

  • Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health 
  • French National School of Public Health
  • Harvard University School of Public Health
  • The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • University of Michigan School of Public Health

Career Paths

Public health alumni build a multifaceted foundation for a diverse range of careers. They find success in medicine, law, government, and more, and hold positions such as:

  • Officer in U.S. Public Health Service
  • Deputy Director of Global Tuberculosis Institute
  • Chief Regulatory Counsel, Pharmaceutical Company
  • Public Health Educator
  • Biostatistician
  • Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Epidemiologist
  • Health Policy Analyst
  • Public Health Administrator
  • Health Information Technician
  • Professor
  • Physician
  • Dentist

“This research allowed me to develop an understanding of what institutionalized racism looks like in disciplines imperative to the health of individuals with darker skin.”

For Genab Diallo ’25, the freedom to explore classes across disciplines helped her discover a passion for studying community health inequities. After taking courses in public health, sociology, and Africana studies, Diallo uncovered a desire to study preventative measures to optimize community well-being before individuals need to visit the doctor. Now a public health major on the sociology track with a minor in Africana studies, Diallo recently conducted research at the intersection of these fields by analyzing public health resources on skin cancer. “This research allowed me to develop an understanding of what institutionalized racism looks like in disciplines imperative to the health of individuals with darker skin,” she said. Diallo found that resources lacked representation of what the warning signs of skin cancer looked like on darker skin, which could result in negative health outcomes in communities of color.

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Students Pitch Wellness Initiatives to City of Lancaster

A cohort of 14 Franklin & Marshall students spent a summer tackling some of Lancaster City’s biggest health and wellness challenges. “We started out looking at environmental risks that exist in Lancaster City – things like lead, air quality, tree coverage, vulnerability,” said Maggie Corson '23, a public health major. The students pitched wellness initiatives to a panel of Lancaster community leaders and experts to receive candid and supportive feedback.

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Related Fields of Study

Biology

The biological sciences expand and advance frontiers of knowledge about all forms of life. From molecules to ecosystems, from oceans to deserts, from the distant past to present day, biology gives you insights into other species, ourselves, and our world.

Government

F&M’s Department of Government has earned a reputation as one of the finest in the country. Study government at F&M and examine power, politics, justice, equity, and change while developing skills in language, economics, mathematics and philosophy.

Sociology

Sociology studies human interactions, the consequences of those relationships, and the broader organizations and institutions that shape those experiences. As a student of sociology, you will explore these interactions to better understand how they shape the world and cultures that we live in.

A Glimpse at Public Health at F&M

May 23, 2024

Ten Faculty Earn Tenure, Promotion

At its May meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously endorsed the recommendations of the Professional Standards Committee and the Provost, granting four F&M faculty tenure and promotion to associate professor, while six others were promoted to full professor.

April 22, 2024

Embracing "And": Junior Genab Diallo on the Liberal Arts Experience

The ampersand in the middle of our College's name symbolizes the rich space of possibility that awaits students at F&M. For Junior Genab Diallo, the freedom to explore classes across disciplines helped her discover her passion.

June 1, 2023

From Passion to Podcast

Senior Mia Gwirtzman, a joint major in art history and public health, traveled to London, home to the Wellcome Collection, a vast library filled with primary and secondary medical sources. “During my trip, I focused my research on the larger ethical question of displaying medical information through the lens of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” Gwirtzman said. “When I got back to the states, I consolidated my research into an episode of a podcast.”