About the Public Health Program
The mission of the undergraduate Public Health program is to provide theoretical and applied knowledge that prepares students to promote and protect the health of the public. The primary goal of the program is to train students to understand human health from a socioecological framework, to identify health-related needs of communities, and to implement interventions to improve the health and well-being of populations. In accordance with our University’s mission, our students are encouraged to be critical thinkers in addressing complex health problems and to be advocates for healthy and just communities. The vision of the Public Health program is to be the leader in Western North Carolina for providing high-quality public health education and training with an emphasis on rural community health and reducing health disparities.
Appalachian State University Public Health program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) as a standalone baccalaureate program.
Core Public Health Curriculum:
Behavioral Science/Health Education
Health Services, Policy and Administration
Undergraduate Program Director:
Adam Hege, Ph.D., MPA, CHES
Caroline Pruitt featured on Appalachian Today (9/17/2020): Maintaining wellness in uncertain times - tips from a public health major and peer educator
“Focus on things that make you feel good. A lot of times, wellness really can be that simple.”
Olivia Gentry was selected as the undergraduate speaker for the Virtual 2020 Commencement ceremony held on May 16, 2020. Olivia, an Honors student who graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA, also defended her Honors Thesis, "The Impact of Peer Sexual Health Education on the Sexual Health of Appalachian State University Students” on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. For that research project, she worked under the direction of Dr. Erin Bouldin, assistant professor in the Public Health program, and with Dr. Alex Howard, director of Wellness and Prevention Services in the Office of Student Success as her second reader. We are so proud of Olivia and all of our 2020 graduating seniors! Below is an exerpt from the superb speech that Olivia delivered for the Commencement ceremony.
"The task before us is enormous, but we must not flench from it. More than tragedy, more than grief, more than fear, the committment to one another must be the legacy of this time. As you move forward, with your career, more schooling, or whatever you desire, I urge you to take those words to heart and consider the inequities COVID-19 has brought to light. Let's take a moment to reflect on the privledge that we all now have—a degree from Appalachian. We have a responsibility to use our education to help create a more socially just world. If I have learned anything from my time as a public health student, it is that everything, and I mean everything, is related to public health in some what. I truely believe that no matter where life takes you, it is possible for you to have a positive impact on the welbeing of this world and all the people in it. As we prepare to graduate things may not look as we expected, but I know one thing is for certain. Our time at Appalachian has prepared us for this. Whether you become a teacher, or a nurse, or a business leader, or an artist, let us all remember that we can and we will make a difference in our communities. The world we see around us is often broken, and we need of people that can change it. We are those people. Now is the time to embrace your unique talents, knowledge, and identities to create the change the world needs."