Service is a very important part of the learning experience at the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Although there are many opportunities for service learning, one of the most prominent in the department is SAFER, the Student Aid for Field Epidemiology Response.
Working in collaboration with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, students have the opportunity to work real outbreaks. In addition to doing case investigations of food-borne illness, students often participate in epidemiologic tracking at major events in the Phoenix area.
These are a unique opportunity for students to work side by side in the field with first responders at events like the Fiesta Bowl, MLB and NBA All Star games and the Super Bowl.
There are also opportunities for service learning in the area of health disparities. Monica Vasquez, a PhD candidate in Biostatistics advises, "Prospective students should expect to get involved whether it is in Tucson or overseas...just expect to get involved. These service learning experiences really stick with you as you see first hand the consequences of health disparities. Service learning is a special kind of education where you learn, but you are also given the opportunity to make a difference."
Watch Dr. Kacey Ernst performing service to the Arizona community through a broadcast interview on an E. Coli outbreak.
The commitment to service is led by the Department's faculty. Faculty members participate in service on both the local and global levels, often providing students with an opportunity to join them in service-oriented projects. Speaking on the value of the College's service mission, Epidemiology faculty member Elizabeth Jacobs, PhD, says, "The service component of the mission aids students in learning about the challenges faced in our own community as well as more global issues. It helps students and faculty to be aware of what is going on around us and to think of ways to use our skills to problem-solve."