A Living Lab for Public Health




Michele Devlin public health COVID-19No one would wish COVID-19 on anyone. But for a group of UNI College of Education faculty, staff and students, the worst pandemic in more than a century has become a living laboratory.

With six tracks comprising the third largest of the health and human services undergraduate majors within the college, public health and education took the spotlight this spring. Faculty weren’t just introducing concepts to students, they were educating family, friends and colleagues about the meaning of terms like epidemiology, contact tracing and herd immunity. 

“It’s always a good time to be getting into public health, but our ability to point to public health as a really vibrant, active thing that’s happening in the community is enhanced right now because it’s more visible,” associate professor Disa Cornish told The Business Record in May. 

“The tricky thing is that when public health is working well, no one knows it's even there! It's a silent science that keeps us healthy every day (think about the clean water running from your tap, the good access to fresh fruits and veggies, the bike and walking trails),” Cornish shared in a web blog in which College of Education shared from various perspectives during COVID-19.  “And when we forget something is there, we forget to fund it! I hope this will serve as a reminder that public health efforts deserve our attention.” 

From shifts to remote coursework and internships to connecting via social media and getting hands-on at the front lines, College of Education public health faculty and students were immersed in public health.  Here are just a few of their stories:

On the Front Lines

A Mix of Crazy and a Reminder of the Good

Creating a Social Community

Coping with Stress: Let’s Talk