Public Health Teamwork makes the Dream Work

When it comes to teamwork, NIU’s Public Health program is showing how it’s done.

Staff members Varsie Geisler, Becky Pritchard, Beth Squires and faculty member, Tomoyuki Shibata, have volunteered to supervise nearly two dozen School of Health Studies students as they volunteered at the Kane County Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

“The students I’ve talked to have appreciated the opportunity for field experience during a time of online learning,” said Beth Squires, NIU Public Health program coordinator. “They are also grateful to have had the opportunity to meet public health professionals out in the field and be a part of the pandemic response.”

Squires said it’s important to provide these types of opportunities for today’s students.

“I am grateful that NIU has a public health program that helps train new professionals for public health,” Squires said. “They will be a part of a great field which is full of passionate individuals who dedicate their lives to improving the health of the population.”

Pritchard agreed, adding that she originally volunteered to help students gain a real-life public health experience. But as the months passed, she identified other reasons she was volunteering.

“I’m volunteering now for my own professional experience and to serve my profession during this historic time,” Pritchard said. “These clinics have an incredible blend of professionals; to see collaboration in the field is inspiring and a solid reminder to students that we are not divided by majors in the field, we work as one for the health of the community.”

For Geisler, who continues to volunteer at the mass vaccination clinics, her motivation is simple.

“I volunteered and continue to volunteer at the Kane County vaccination clinics because it’s a tangible way in which to help bring the pandemic to its knees,” Geisler said.

Learn more about Public Health at NIU.

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