BC to start one of the first Public Health Pathways

Sara Lievanos, Reporter & Photographer

Starting in fall of 2016, Bakersfield College will begin implementing one of the first Public Health Services pathways for a community college in the state.

The goal will be to give students with an interest in the health field more career options.

According to Public Health faculty member Sarah Baron, when most people think about going into the medical field, they only consider being a doctor or nurse.

However, most people are unaware that the Public Health field has over 7,000 different careers to offer.

To fully introduce students to this uncharted pathway, BC will be offering two new Public Health related courses in the Fall semester and an additional two classes planned for the Spring semester, all while simultaneously working to get the pathway approved as an Associates Degree for Transfer.

Because most students are unfamiliar with public health, Baron hopes the courses offered in this upcoming school year will help to define the subject, and hopefully exemplify the vast amount of careers the field has to pursue.

The first course that will be offered at BC in the Fall semester is Intro to Public Health, which as Baron described, “will focus on health law, looking at rates and trends for diseases, environmental health, case studies, healthcare systems, and food and drug regulations.”

The second course that BC plans to offer this fall is a course called Personal Wellness, which will target behavioral change, and focus on making changes that will improve the health of the entire community.

The third course that will be offered in the spring of 2017 semester will be Drugs in Society, which will examine the impact and trends of drug use in our society.

And the fourth course that BC plans to offer in the spring is Social Justice in Health, which will focus on groups of people who don’t have access to proper healthcare, and also look at cases that advocated for healthcare equality.

To explain the reasoning behind BC’s current push in implementing a public health pathway, Baron explained that in the year 2020 it is projected that there will be 250,000 job opportunities that need to be filled in the public health field.

With some of the highest rates for teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in California, there is no shortage of public health issues in Kern County to address, and Baron stresses that there are entry-level jobs for this field of work now.

For example, Baron describes several non-profits and schools that are currently looking for health educators, people to gather health related data, and even graphic designers.

These businesses are not looking for people with a master’s degree, but rather people who have a passion to better inform the community about health.

There is actually such a plethora of career opportunities through public health that Baron said, “The Department of Health and Human Services expressed it was crucial for community colleges to start offering these courses, so people don’t miss out on access to careers simply because they don’t know about it.”

With much anticipation for the new pathway to begin in the fall, Baron hopes students who want to make Kern County a better place to live will take the new courses and realize how many new career opportunities will open with a degree in public health. If you have any questions about the Public Health Pathway contact Sarah Baron at (661) 395-4447 or visit publichealthbaron.info