Izzy Kates, BS Candidate

Izzy is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Community Health with a minor in International Development and Conflict Management, and is expected to graduate in May 2018. 

In one sentence, what is public health to you?

Public Health is the acknowledgement that everyone in a society deserves to be healthy, not just the people who can afford the best medical care.

What inspired you to study public health?

I think that public health allows you to make the biggest difference in the most lives. I get inspired when I read about groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who have changed so many lives with simple solutions.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?

I think that we are just beginning to understand the danger that infectious diseases can pose to us, although many in the United States still don’t think about it. Climate change and globalization are going to bring a lot of foreign microbes to our doorstep, and the world’s health systems are ALL woefully underequipped to deal with the problem – including ours.

Why did you choose public health at UMD? 

Honestly? UMD is the only school I got into and public health is what I wanted to do. I don’t have a better answer than that.

How has your degree program at UMD's School of Public Health shaped your career goals? 

It’s made me appreciate the social justice aspect of public health much more, which hasn’t changed my planned career path all that much but has proven to me how crucial public health is to most of the world’s population. It has also taught me that I need to be realistic about what job I can do.

What person or experience had the greatest impact on your during your degree program? 

Belonging to Phi Alpha Epsilon has brought me in to contact with the people that make up the field of public health. That has been really instructional.