As a graduate student, the public health field is full of endless opportunities to improve communities across South Dakota. Everyday as a public health student at the University of South Dakota, I have the privilege of learning a new aspect of the field. Throughout my education various doors have opened, revealing careers in this field that I never knew existed.
Prior to beginning my education in the program, I had not been aware of the various ways in which public health affects a community and its health. Healthcare is often thought of as the diagnosis and attention provided by medical staff such as physicians and nurses. Treatment and recovery is often viewed as medication, diagnostic imaging and surgeries. However, I have been introduced to the concept of healthcare including the determinants of health, such as socioeconomic status, community, and education level .
It is eye opening when analyzing even my own community of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; I am able to see the various contributions to overall health. There are various programs in which they focus upon an important aspect of the community, and providing methods to improve upon them. This includes education, food insecurity, healthy living, nutrition, etc. It emphasizes the importance of all aspects that contribute to the health of our community.
As a future public health care professional the aspect I am passionate about and believe will dramatically improve the health of all communities, including mine, is prevention. I have personally witnessed too many of my own community members fall victim to what is a preventable disease, such as diabetes and obesity. It is estimated that in South Dakota alone, the cost of treating chronic diseases will be approximately $2.7 billion dollars as of 2023 . I am determined to focus on programs and projects aiming to prevent chronic disease and improve the health of South Dakota citizens, and to lower the shocking statistic.
I am honored to be entering into a field in which past and present public health professionals have laid out a solid foundation for me to learn and grow. There are opportunities around every corner for students like me to become invested in improving our communities. I look forward to continuing my education and internship with SLM Consulting, and finding my place in the public health world in order to make a difference.
 World Health Organization. (1019). What is the WHO Definition of Health? Retrieved from https://www.who.int/about/who-we-are/frequently-asked-questions
 Good & Healthy South Dakota. (n.d.). The Cost Savings of Investing in Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in South Dakota. Retrieved from http://goodandhealthy.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/FinalCostSavingsWhitePaper.pdf