WELCOME, new students! z.umn.edu/umdphwelcome

welcome to...

The UMD Public Health program strives to develop professional, caring leaders who are committed to protecting and promoting the health of individuals, families, and communities. We prepare students to assess, plan, implement, evaluate, and manage programs that benefit individuals and communities, while communicating and advocating for health and the public health profession.

Photo: Molly Johnson '22 attending the UMN Community Engagement Conference with Dr. Jessica Hanson (photo by Jessica Hanson)

creating community

Creating a strong community for our students and faculty is very important to us. We have 5 key values that guide us in everything that we do:

[ We are Real ]

We value each other as unique human beings, and we want you to be your authentic self.

[ We are Creative ]

We inspire each other to create solutions to public health issues in innovative ways.

[ We are Engaged ]

We partner with campus, community, and professional organizations to create applied learning opportunities for our students that have a lasting impact on community members.

[ We are Supportive ]

Our teaching, advising, and research activities emphasize mentoring, collaboration, and the creation of a supportive learning environment.

[ We are Successful ]

Your success is our success. We strive to help our students reach their academic, personal, and professional goals...whatever they might be.

"I have learned that the UMD Public Health program is a very close community of great people that are always supporting each other and working together intentionally."

–Zach Dean '21

the public health profession

Public Health is Everywhere

According to the American Public Health Association, public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work, and play. When you study public health, you are studying:

  • Health promotion: We promote wellness by encouraging healthy behaviors.
  • Disease prevention: We try to prevent people from getting sick or injured.
  • Surveillance and monitoring: We identify and keep track of people with a certain disease or illness.
  • Outbreaks and emergency preparedness: We help communities prepare and deal with disease outbreaks and environmental disasters.
  • Communication and literacy: We provide health education materials in a way that people can understand.
  • Healthcare management: We advance knowledge in health management, policy, and research.
  • Health disparities: We focus on social determinants of health to better understand why some of us are more likely to suffer from poor health than others.

Career Opportunities & Graduate Education

After graduating with an undergraduate degree in public health, you might seek jobs with titles such as contact tracer, global health professional, health education specialist, health and wellbeing coach, community health worker, or health communication officer...just to name a few. Speaking a foreign language, developing your cultural competence, having practical experience, and earning a certification can also help you increase your career opportunities.

Our alumni often seek certifications, graduate education, or professional training in fields such as public health, health education, health promotion, epidemiology, social work, psychology, occupational therapy, medical school, nursing, dental hygiene, and environmental health & safety.

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, “Employment of epidemiologists is projected to grow 5 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations.” For health educators and community health workers, the projected growth is even higher with an expected growth rate of 11 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. The great news is that public health professionals have a major future at the local, state, national, and global levels. The UMD Public Health faculty look forward to supporting you on your public health journey.

Projected Employment Growith: These graphs show the projected employment of epidemiologists, health educators and community health workers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"I learned that within the UMD Public Health program, the topics that students are interested in are very diverse and unique. This program allows students to incorporate their passions, even if they are not public health related. It makes all the students stand out."

–Ajullu Odola '21

our Public Health degree at UMD

We offer 1 public health major (with two concentration options) and 2 minors.

PUBLIC HEALTH MAJOR & MINOR: At UMD, students can select a Public Health major or minor. Freshman/transfer students are admitted to the Public Health program as a pre-major. Student can select one of two concentrations: Community Health Education/Promotion or School Health Education. Community Health Education/Promotion concentration students may apply to upper division after completing 3 key courses (HLTH 1100, 1470, 3101) and maintaining a GPA of 2.0. School Health Education concentration students will follow the requirements for teacher licensure in the state of Minnesota. After completion of the program, students are awarded a Bachelor of Applied Science degree.

HEALTH & WELLNESS COACHING MINOR: We also offer a minor in Health & Wellness Coaching. The Health and Wellness Coaching minor can be taken in conjunction with the Public Health major. This minor prepares you with interpersonal skills that are important in working with clients, patients, customers, or students in a variety of health care, worksite, community, and school settings.

Our flexible curriculum is designed to provide stepping stones for learning and personal growth.

Year 1: Personal health and wellbeing

During your first year, coursework such as Health & Wellness Strategies for Life and Human Nutrition will introduce you to personal health concepts. You will be paired with a peer health coach, who will support you with setting and achieving your own personal health and wellbeing goals.

Year 2: Public health profession

In your second year, you will build on that knowledge and begin exploring the public health profession, the social determinants of health, and basic research skills.

Year 3: Professional skills

In your third year, you will enhance your health knowledge and develop a range of professional skills that will help you plan and implement effective health interventions for diverse audiences.

Year 4: Capstone experience

In your fourth year, you will be applying these skills in community and campus settings through internship, assistantship, or LiNCs placement opportunities.

We have a set of core courses plus a range of flexible course options.

All students will take a series of core courses such as Health & Wellness Strategies for Life, Human Nutrition, Foundations of Public Health, Research & Evaluation, Epidemiology, Public Health Communication, and Community Health Methods. We have a range of courses, such global health, grant writing, and worksite health, that will allow you to personalize your public health degree in a way that will best prepare you for chosen graduate education or career. If you are not sure what your educational or career goals are at this point, that’s okay, too. We are here to help you along the way.

We deliver 2 short-term study abroad courses that focus on health.

Explore the possibility of a short-term or long-term study abroad opportunity! We have two short-term study abroad options led by public health faculty. One will allow you to learn about arts and health in Italy. The other will allow you to learn about holistic health and healing in England and Scotland.


Get all the details and apply at z.umn.edu/italyhealth

Cities Visited: Florence, Rome, & Venice.

Dates Abroad: Summer 2023

Description: Our course commences in Rome, travels to Florence, and culminates in Venice as we explore historical aspects of community/public health through innovative methods, such as dynamic classroom settings appropriately titled, ‘Walking’, ‘Creative’, ‘Floating’, ‘Nature-based’, and ‘Healing’. The Walking Classroom is our primary mode of transportation as it empowers us to ‘learn at every turn’ while maximizing our educational experience that hinges on factors that affect a community’s health.

Get all the details and apply at z.umn.edu/italyhealth

United Kingdom

Get all the details and apply at z.umn.edu/ukholistichealth

Cities visited: England (London, Bath, Nottingham, Liverpool) & Scotland (Edinborough)

Dates Abroad: Summer 2022

Description: Journey to your best life as we explore the rich history of holistic health in the United Kingdom, which celebrates a mixture of vibrant cultures and natural healing practices. Throughout this journey, you will learn about current health issues (such as digital toxicity, stress and the microbiome, and resilience during crisis) and how to address them in today’s world. You will leave with a new awareness of “self,” a new appreciation for different cultures, and a new set of experiences with body, mind, spirit practices.

Get all the details and apply at z.umn.edu/ukholistichealth

We provide capstone options that will allow you to tailor your professional development.


The Public Health Internship is a pre-professional capstone experience that enables undergraduate Public Health majors to apply the knowledge they have learned in the classroom in a variety of settings, such as public health departments, government health agencies, voluntary health organizations, hospitals, corporate worksites, universities, and K-12 schools. Internship connects students to the people and situations they may encounter as a public health professional while simultaneously providing valuable experience, networking opportunities, and professional contacts.

In an internship, the student will:

  • Complete a minimum of 9 credits (360 hours) of internship in a community health education/promotion setting under the guidance of a community health education/promotion expert (Site Supervisor) and UMD Public Health faculty member (Public Health Internship Instructor).
  • Create internship goals/objectives involving a community health education/promotion project that benefits the Sponsoring Agency.
  • Apply Responsibilities & Competencies for Health Education Specialists in a real-world setting.
  • Document the learning experience through timesheets, evaluations, and reports.

Internship Site Examples:

  • YMCA
  • Carlton County
  • American Lung Association
  • Planned Parenthood
  • Duluth Entertainment & Convention Center.


A Public Health Assistantship is a service learning experience designed for undergraduate students in public health. Under direct supervision of a public health faculty member, students will further their undergraduate education in an applied manner and develop skills that may enhance future graduate education or employment opportunities. Assistantship responsibilities may involve developing professional skills in research, laboratory management, pedagogy, or programming.

In an assistantship, the the student will:

  • Complete 1 or more credits (40 hours per credit) of assistantship under direct supervision of a UMD Public Health faculty member.
  • Develop a written learning plan that includes the number of credits, nature of work to be accomplished, time expectations, and the number of expected meetings between the student and faculty member.
  • Apply Responsibilities & Competencies for Health Education Specialists in a real-world setting.
  • Document the learning experience through timesheets, evaluations, and reports.

Assistantship examples:

UNDERGRADUATE UNDERREPRESENTED RESEARCH PROGRAM: The Undergraduate Underrepresented Research Program (UURP) is a new opportunity for undergraduate Public Health students that provides them with research experience, faculty mentorship, as well as opportunities for professional growth and development. This semester, Sara Hildreth, Jocelyn Montiel, and Mary Parsatoon participated in the UURP program under Dr. Tornabene, Dr. Gray, and Dr. Hanson, respectively. By following the link below, you will see a poster of these students’ work that was submitted to the Minnesota Public Health Association (MPHA) Annual Conference poster session. UURP materials designed by Allie Carpenter. https://z.umn.edu/UURP-Researchers-s21
RESEARCH WITH DR. GRAY: Hi there, on this page you will find a summary of some of the work Mya Ngo, Jade Hipp, and Mathia Jacobson completed as research assistants working alongside Dr. Gray throughout the semester. Some of the research topics included collaborative online international learning (COIL), the National Institute of Health (NIH) K Award, and peer-to-peer counseling for a smoking cessation intervention. Visit the link below to learn more about each students' experience and some of their accomplishments: https://z.umn.edu/ResearchAsst-DrGray-s21
RESEARCH WITH DR. HANSON: Hi everyone! This semester, Amy Harris (junior), Cassie Mohawk (junior), and Lauren James (senior), all students in the UMD Public Health program were advised by Dr. Jessica Hanson in a research assistantship. On this page, you will find a summary of the research assistantships that Amy, Cassie, and Lauren completed this spring. Each of our projects had unique experiences including co-authoring publications, analyzing a survey, research on trauma-sensitive yoga for pregnant women, and much more. Check out what our assistantships were all about! https://z.umn.edu/ResearchAsst-DrHanson-s21
RESEARCH WITH DR. TORNABENE: Hello, everyone! My name is Mary Wolf and this semester Ani Mehnert and I participated as interns in some exciting research, under the guidance of our Professor, Dr. Ladona Tornabene. Our focus is on the Mapping of ‘Arts in Health’ Programming within the Midwest. The purpose of this research is to provide a profile and documentation of arts in health programs within the Midwest and to contribute toward benchmarking arts in health programming in the United States. You'll find more detailed information about our research, our goals for this semester, as well as our bios and reflection on the research. Check out our Spark page by clicking on the link below! https://z.umn.edu/ResearchAsst-DrTornabene-s21

Communication Assistantships

COMMUNICATION ASSISTANTSHIP WITH DR. V.: As Communication Assistants, we work as part of the Communication Team to create content for the UMD Public Health social media pages! This involves creating graphics and posts to promote fun health information. Other responsibilities included contacting students, faculty and alumni to feature them throughout the semester. https://z.umn.edu/CommunicationAssit-DrVersnikNowak-s21

Event Coordinator Assistantships

EVENT COORDINATOR ASSISTANTSHIP WITH DR. V.: As Event Coordinators, we were responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating events for the UMD Public Health program. We worked with outside organizations, such as the Public Health Student Group, to co-host and assist with their events. Our main event this semester was the Spring 2021 Virtual Student Showcase. On our page, you will find more information about the Event Coordinator position, our planning process, event promotion, our Spring 2021 Showcase evaluation, and more! https://z.umn.edu/EventCoordinator-DrVersnikNowak-s21

Lab Assistantships

LAB ASSISTANTSHIP WITH DR. V.: As assistants in the Public Health Lab, we host open lab hours, assist the instructor during class time or with special projects, provide feedback/assistance to students in HLTH 3300/3305 during lab hours or via email, support the implementation of the student showcase, and other duties as assigned. Qualifications include: successful completion of HLTH 3300, ability to apply design elements and principles for effective design, understanding of design and technology terminology, time management, high quality work, initiative, giving/receiving feedback, willingness to teach or help others, respect for privacy, and ethical behavior. https://z.umn.edu/LabAsst-DrVersnikNowak-s21

"I learned that there are so many opportunities in the public health program–whether that’s internship opportunities, future careers, or even just other programs you can work in!"

Payton Roth '22

Our Faculty

From top left: Dr. Amy Versnik Nowak, aka "Dr. V." (Associate Professor, Program Coordinator); Dr. Jessica Hanson (Assistant Professor); Ms. Karen Skrbich (Instructor); Dr. Ladona Tornabene (Associate Professor); Dr. Marzell Gray (Assistant Professor); Ms. Ann Miller (Director of CEHSP Advising & Academic Services); Dr. Mitzi Doane (Associate Professor).

"What I learned about the UMD Public Health program were all of the opportunities you can do in this program. These are not classes students take just to take and get the credits, but they also give us real experience that we can use on a resume or skills in a future job. Professors want us to succeed."

Katie Risovi '21

advising and mentorship

Throughout your time here, you will have both a professional advisor and a faculty advisor who will serve as mentors and guides to help you reach your goals. We will help you make informed choices about which classes to take, how many credits to take, finding an internship, applying to graduate school, and seeking career paths.

Before registration each semester, we host a group advising event that benefits the students and faculty in our public health community. The students benefit by not having to make individual appointments with advisors, and they benefit from talking with their peers and utilizing the collective wisdom of the faculty and advising staff. Faculty and advising staff also benefit by serving students more efficiently and working collaboratively to answer students' questions.

Mentorship can come from both faculty and your peers. Faculty mentorship can take the form of an assistantship in research, peer education, communication, or event management. Peer mentorship through our HERO Peer Health & Well-being Coaches, guidance from the public health lab assistants, or joining the Public Health Student Group can help you feel part of our UMD Public Health community. For new students, these options are great for connecting with your fellow students and learning about other campus and community opportunities!

Student leadership and engagement

Within the Public Health Program

SOPHE Collegiate Champions

The UMD Public Health program has two Society for Public Health Communication (SOPHE) Collegiate Champions every year. As SOPHE Collegiate Champions, these students work to promote the Society for Public Health Communication both in the UMD Public Health program and on campus. Every semester, the champion and the mentor host one event for health promotion and education. In previous semesters, they have helped host our Public Health Student Showcase, an event where students share their work from the semester with family, peers, faculty and other professionals.

Public Health Student Group

The Public Health Student Group (PHSG) is a collection of public health students who are interested in learning more about the profession and developing leadership skills. The mission of this group is to communicate, promote, and advocate for health, health education/promotion, and the public health profession. The group also provides students with many different opportunities, both on and off campus, related to programming, advocacy, and networking.

PHSG Leadership Team 2020-2021: President Jade Hipp (top left), Vice President Cassidy Crump (top right), Treasurer Mary Parsatoon (bottom left), Public Relations Samara Plotz (bottom middle), Secretary Cassaundra Mohawk (bottom right).
PHSG Tabling: 2019-20 PHSG members tabling in Kirby Commons for the I Love You Institute.

Public Health Student Advisory Team

The Public Health Student Advisory Team consists of a small number of Public Health majors who are in good academic standing. The responsibilities of members include advising the program coordinator and designated Public Health faculty on program initiatives and communicating student perspectives and needs. Input received from PHSAT members is highly valued and important for ensuring program quality. The program coordinator for the Public Health program is Dr. Amy Versnik Nowak, and the current designated faculty member is Dr. Jessica Hanson.

PHSAT Members: Jade Hipp (top left), Allison Carpenter (top middle), Molly Slaughter (top right), Mary Parsatoon (bottom left), Shawna Spiry (bottom middle), Moriah Cebulla (bottom right).

HERO Peer Health Coaches

HERO Peer Health Coaches are enrolled in Professional Health Coaching and spend a semester providing health and wellbeing coaching for students enrolled in HLTH 1100 Health & Wellness Strategies for Life. As Peer Health Coaches, they help students set personal health goals and strategies to achieve those goals.

Kourtney Dobmeier

My name is Kourtney Dobmeier, and I am a senior majoring in Public Health and minoring in Psychology. This spring, I am working as a Peer Health Coach for students and adults to help them reach their goals. I am also serving as a communication assistant for the second time this semester, as a mentor. I am a member of the Public Health Student Group and as of recently, I have been preparing for graduate school to become a registered nurse. This semester, I have been working alongside my clients to better their health in areas of their choosing.

Cassidy crump

My name is Cassidy Crump, and I am a Junior majoring in public health. This spring I have had the opportunity to be a Peer Health Coach for students taking Health and Wellness. I am Vice President of the Public Health Student Group and will be serving as the President in the Fall. This semester I developed skills in guiding and leading clients in achieving their goal(s) and applied knowledge on confidentiality and communication to help the process.

Lindsey Hilgers

Hello everyone! My name is Lindsey Hilgers and I am a senior in the Public Health program graduating this spring, May 2021. I am currently serving as a Peer Health Coach and a Lab Assistant for an upper level Public Health course. I am also a member of the UMD Public Health Student Group and a volunteer for Age Well Arrowhead. This semester, I am striving to better my professional leadership skills by engaging in more public opportunities. After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school for Occupational Therapy.

Alyssia Pucel

My name is Alyssia Pucel and I am a senior in the Public Health Program with a minor in psychology. I am also a member of the UMD cheerleading team and Mortar Board. This is my second semester as a peer health coach, and I have really enjoyed working with each of my clients. I have learned so much from this experience that will guide me in my future as an occupational therapist!

Mary wolf

Hello! My name is Mary Wolf, and I am a senior studying Public Health and Promotion. I currently have two internships with professors Dr. Doane and Dr. Tornabene. For Dr. Doane, I am a health coach to seven clients consisting of freshmen and sophomores. It has been an awesome experience guiding my clients during their lifestyle changes in becoming their best selves. I am looking forward to developing my communication and collaboration skills with my clients throughout the semester!

Annemarie O'keeffe

My name is Annemarie O’Keeffe, and I am a Junior in the Public Health Program with a Community Health Education focus. I am apart of the Women’s Lacrosse team on campus and am the president of the organization. This semester, I’ve been working on and learning more about Adobe editing and design skills as well as using Adobe Spark to create one place for my work. I am looking forward to the rest of the semester and the different skills I will learn in order to become a more knowledgeable leader within Public Health.

Alyssa hunter

My name is Alyssa Hunter, and I'm a senior in the Public Health Program. This spring, I am interning as a health coach where I assist students and faculty achieve a personal goal. Health coaching with my clients has been fantastic and brings me so much fulfillment to see them achieve their goals! I am looking forward to increasing my coaching abilities through this internship and applying that to my future career as a registered dietitian.

Allison Carpenter

My name is Allison Carpenter, and I am a graduating senior in the UMD Public Health Program. During my time in the program, I have served as a Communication Assistant, Summer Program Assistant, and now as a Events Coordinator under Dr. V. I have also worked with Dr. Gray as a Teaching Assistant and now a Website Developer and Coordinator for the new Undergraduate Underrepresented Research Program. This semester, I also interned as a HERO Peer Health Coach and served as a member of the Public Health Student Advisory Team. Outside of school, I am a senior jumper and sprinter on the UMD Women’s Track and Field Team. Post-graduation, I plan to seek an entry-level position in the public health field with a focus in health communication. I also have a passion for coaching track and field in my future.
On Campus

UMD Health Services

UMD Health Services offers three student peer health educator groups in which many public health majors and minors participate. The Drug and Alcohol Peer Educators (DAPE) and Sexual Health Educators (SHE) work to promote healthy lifestyle choices, with their main focus being on healthy relationships, sexual health, bystander intervention and alcohol, and cannabis harm reduction. The Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) is a group of dedicated students who act as a student voice for UMD Health Services and school administration on topics relating to community health and public health policy at UMD. Some projects they’ve worked on recently involve sleep deprivation and stress reduction among college students.

Women's Resource and Action Center

The Women’s Resource and Action Center (WRAC) is another great way for public health students to get involved on campus. WRAC works to empower students through the provision of a wide variety of services and resources, such as: a library with extensive subject files related to gender for academic or personal purposes, referrals to campus and community services, a space for nursing parents, sexual assault advocacy, and special programs and events including Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Women's History Month.

WRAC: UMD Public Health Alumni Jade Moorse (right) speaking with Dr. Jessica Hanson in the WRAC.
In the Duluth Community


Courses within the program offer students a chance to volunteer in the community and build fulfilling connections within various public health settings. You also have the opportunity to expand your experiences by volunteering on your own. Don't be afraid of getting involved! Your contributions make a difference to the Duluth community!

Student Recognition

Public Health Student Showcase

Every semester, the UMD Public Health program puts on a Student Showcase for students to share the work they have been doing throughout the semester. Some of the projects showcased at this event include; multi-media health campaigns, community health intervention programs, internship and assistantship experiences, and much more. Students typically have a table set up with printed materials, computers to show website designs, monitors for presentations, etc. to share their work. During the event, students share this work with peers, family, alumni, faculty and other professionals in the field. This is a great opportunity for students to make personal and professional networking connections for future endeavors.

Spring 2021 Virtual Student Showcase

Fall 2020 Virtual Student Showcase

Spring 2020 Virtual Student Showcase

Fall 2019 Student Showcase

Major of the Year

The Public Health Major of the Year award recognizes high achievement of a junior or senior student who is majoring in Public Health. Nominations and applications are sought every spring term.

UMD Public Health Major of the Year 2020-2021

Allie is a senior in the Public Health program who has been very involved throughout her time at UMD. She has served as a Communication Assistant, Summer Program Assistant, and now as an Events Coordinator under Dr. V. She has also worked with Dr. Gray as a Teaching Assistant and now as a Website Developer and Coordinator for the new Undergraduate Underrepresented Research Program. This Semester she interned as a HERO Peer Health Coach and served as a member of the Public Health Student Advisory Team. Outside of school, Allie is also a senior jumper and sprinter on the UMD Women’s Track and Field Team. When Allie was asked why she chose Public Health and what her health interests are her response was “ I chose public health originally because I was interested in health topics and helping people, as well as wanted a major that was open ended and I could do many things with. Now, after going through our program, I have learned that my passions lie in a variety of areas. Some examples include reproductive health and family planning, community health, health equity, and overall holistic health.”

Qualities of a UMD Public Health Major of the Year

  • Major in Public Health at the University of Minnesota Duluth
  • Junior or Senior standing
  • Good academic performance
  • Commitment to Public Health profession
  • Leadership in Public Health or other groups
  • Professional development (e.g., attending workshops and conferences)
  • Engagement in research or other scholarly/creative activities
  • Community involvement
  • Receiving other honors

The Public Health Major of the Year receives the following:

  • Certificate from the Department of Applied Human Sciences (AHS)
  • Recognition at the AHS graduating senior banquet
  • Recognition on the Public Health and AHS Facebook pages
  • Ability to list this recognition on résumé and job applications

CEHSP Scholarships

For the 2019-2020 academic year, the College of Education and Human Service Professions awarded 91 scholarships with $254,700 in total awards! Both undergraduate and graduate students across all five departments are recognized in the fall at the annual CEHSP Honors and Awards Ceremony.

Fall 2019 Award Winners

University Scholarships

The Raymond Darland All-American Scholarship Program is a university-wide scholarship program that was established in 1976. Four scholarships are awarded each year to UMD students to offset the cost of tuition. For two consecutive years, a public health major was awarded one of the four competitive scholarships:

Study Abroad Scholarships

Opportunities for Giving

Do you know anyone who wants to support public health or health education efforts through donations or a scholarship fund?

  • Donate to our UMD Trails of a Champ-ion Professional Development Fund, which supports the enhancement of professional development of junior and senior public health majors to attend conferences, professional meetings, and seminars.
  • To set up a scholarship in your name to support our public health students for years to come, please email the public health program coordinator at aversnik@d.umn.edu.
Social Media

The UMD Public Health program utilizes the social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram, to share student work and information related to public health.


Thank you for visiting the UMD Public Health Spark page for new students! We hope that this page provided you with useful information that helped you to understand what our program is all about. Our faculty are so excited to have you join our UMD Public Health family, and we hope you are too!

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