Loyola to offer new public health major


A woman receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccination center in the town of Ignalina, some 100km (62.2 miles) north of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Wednesday, March 17, 2021. Lithuania has decided to temporarily suspend vaccination with Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

Destiny Sanders

Loyola has added a new public health major to the College of Arts and Sciences.

Beginning next semester, students will have the option to choose between a Bachelor of Arts in public health or a Bachelor of Sciences in public health.

Loyola professor Kate Yurgil said that as the world has battled with the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year now, the field has become more important than ever.

According to Yurgil, associate professor of psychological sciences at Loyola, both degrees share common classes such as the Loyola core classes, and foundational courses in math, natural sciences, and social sciences.

Students who choose the Bachelor of Arts degree will have classes that focus on social science courses such as political science, psychology and sociology, Yurgil said. This degree track is perfect for students interested in advocacy, policy or working in state systems, according to Yurgil.

The Bachelor of Sciences degree will focus on more natural sciences such as biology and chemistry, according to Yurgil. This track prepares students for careers in the field such as being scientists and epidemiologists.

“There was a strong interest from the faculty to pursue this program,” Maria Calzada, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences said.

Calzada has worked with professors in the College of Arts and Sciences as well as the School of Nursing to create the curriculum. Externally, Calzada has worked with Loyola alumni at the CDC and a health professional at the Louisiana Department of Public Health to ensure that Loyola students are receiving education and internship opportunities in the new major.

The Louisiana Department of Public Health will offer Loyola students internships once the program goes into effect. Loyola and the Tulane School of Public Health have also discussed possible four plus one or three plus two master programs, according to Calzada

“We are a very diverse college with a diverse span of disciplines, and the public health major is another way for students to find a home and express themselves,” Calzada said.