Loyola University New Orleans Launches Public Health Major
New talent pipeline will help to address local, regional, national need
(New Orleans – March 8, 2021) Loyola University New Orleans is now launching a new undergraduate degree program in Public Health, designed to prepare students for high-paying jobs in this critical area. Starting in Fall 2021, Loyola students will be able to pursue a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in Public Health; they will also be able to minor in Public Health.
“Public health majors at Loyola will prepare students for highly in-demand roles in health care, communications, and community advocacy; some will go on to continue their studies at the master’s or doctoral level to gain specialized skills,” said Dr. Maria Calzada, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “As a Jesuit university rooted in ethical decision-making, we are proud to be training the next generation of public health care leaders, filling a critical need here in the Gulf South and beyond.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the biggest public health crises in modern history. From researching and understanding the long-term effects of the virus to understanding how to prevent and reduce transmission in our communities, public health experts are on the frontline of the pandemic. The new interdisciplinary program at Loyola will help students explore how to prevent and reduce the impact of outbreaks like COVID-19; create safer, more informed communities, and be prepared to assist in any public health crisis or disaster.
Public health majors at Loyola will gain an interdisciplinary understanding of public health that combines scientific exploration, research and communication skills, and ethical decision-making. Depending on their interests, students could research patterns in diseases, design fitness and nutrition programs for vulnerable populations, or help control and prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that nearly 14% of all jobs will be within the health care and social assistance industry by 2029, making it the fastest growing sector in the U.S. economy. Greater New Orleans, Inc. estimates that the public health sector accounts for more than 80,000 jobs in the region, with 15.6% growth in the industry from 2010 – 2020.
Because of the growing demand for health-related roles, Loyola estimates that a degree in public health is about 10% more lucrative than the average college degree, according to data from PayScale.
Public health encompasses every aspect of our daily lives—from what’s stocked on the shelves at the grocery store to how we access medical care or what we do when disaster strikes. With a public health degree from Loyola University, students will gain a holistic understanding of health and wellness and the factors that contribute to a more equitable health care system. They will create meaningful change and better prepare our society to tackle the biggest health issues of our time.
Faculty with diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise—from physics to philosophy to political science—helped to design a program that reflects the growing demand for professionals in this field.
“The public health program is a response to strong student interest, great public need, a strong sense of community, and Loyola’s institutional mission to prepare students to lead meaningful lives for and with others,” said Dr. Kate Yurgil, associate professor psychological sciences.
Philosophy professor Dr. Joel McLellan added: “Public health is tough medicine for a globalized world. Side effects include increased life expectancy, well being and economic efficiency.”