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Voices of Public Health, Fall 2023, Issue 1

A message from our community

Happy Fall! I am delighted to share the UC Merced Public Health Department’s inaugural newsletter with our community of students, colleagues, and collaborators. Our biannual newsletter will update members of our community on our vibrant and growing department of undergraduate and graduate students and interdisciplinary faculty. Public health is a collaborative field that seeks to promote well-being for populations by advancing an equitable society, ensuring safe environmental conditions, and uplifting the voice and power of communities. As you will see in our inaugural issue, the members of the UC Merced Public Health Department have been advancing health locally in the San Joaquin Valley and beyond through the:

nationally recognized leadership of our students

transformative work of our community partners

groundbreaking research and teaching of our faculty

Public Health at UC Merced officially became a department in 2016 with the mission to promote and protect health in the San Joaquin Valley and the world through our research and the training of the next generation of public health leaders. While young, our department’s impact has been notable.

Our 14 faculty members represent public health sub-disciplines from medical anthropology to epidemiology to environmental health. Their contributions on topics from mental health to air pollution to housing have pushed the field forward and informed policy makers. In addition, we are home to an Agricultural and Natural Resources Specialist who connects our students and faculty to the UC Cooperative Extension.

We currently have 358 undergraduate majors and have just launched a new Bachelor of Science in Public Health. Graduates have gone on to work in health departments, community health centers, and other organizations throughout the state.

We currently have 20 doctoral students, and our 17 graduates now hold faculty positions and leadership roles in the state health department, county health departments, and research centers such as the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program.

These efforts could not have happened without our growing community of colleagues and collaborators in local community-based organizations, other universities, and state and local public health departments. Thank you!

We look forward to continuing to build the UC Merced Public Health community, connecting with each of you — whether in spaces here at UC Merced, community meetings in the SJV, or gatherings elsewhere across the state, nation, and globe.

- Asa Bradman, Professor and Chair, Public Health Department