Learning comes to life
Recent DEOHS graduate finds there’s no substitute for “getting your boots dirty” through experiences in the field
Erica Grant climbed the steep lava slopes of Rwanda’s volcanic park and trekked through its dense rain forest to see some of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas.
What surprised her most wasn’t so much the great apes themselves, but how difficult it was for tourists to keep a safe distance away.
This was an ideal setting for Grant as an MPH student in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS), where she studied One Health, an approach that recognizes the multidirectional health linkages of humans, animals and the environment.
Grant is among thousands of SPH students who have gained valuable skills through life-changing experiences in the field.
In Rwanda, she built a system for tracking data on the health of hundreds of guides, trackers and porters so researchers could better understand how to prevent the spread of pathogens between humans and gorillas.
“I value classroom learning, but there’s only so much you can learn in an artificial environment,” says Grant, who graduated from DEOHS in 2018. “At some point, you have to get your boots dirty to really grow.”
Read about Erica’s experiences in the field and how the UW School of Public Health promotes opportunities for students to take their classroom learning and apply it in real life.