Posted on August 17, 2022 by Amanda Cerreto

August 18, 2022 - The days of using public health as a pathway into medical school are dwindling. While it's a valid choice, nearly every student that takes a public health class at the University of Texas at San Antonio quickly realizes that it encompasses so much more than medicine.

Amelia Landin Like many students before her, Amelia Landin '21 arrived at UTSA as a biology major intent on a pre-med track. And like many in the College for Health, Community and Policy's Department of Public Health, she soon realized what the field really entails.

"When I took Professor Erica Wallace 's classes, I learned so much about health literacy," Landin said. "Both on the local and global scale - things like infant mortality and causes of death around the world."

This information opened Landin's eyes to the healthcare system and how much improvement was needed. “I realized how important my degree could be,” she said.

Another aspect of public health that caught Landin's interest was the proactive approach; while medicine has an individual approach to cure and help one patient, public health is preventative and on a macro scale.

“I think that the field has so much room for growth,” Landin said. “There are so many career options. It's not just an intro to pre-med.”

That became abundantly clear as Landin headed into her senior year - right as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“I was able to see, in real time, the need for public health and why it's so important in the community,” she said.

Landin leveraged her degree into a position with the Refugee Services of Texas as a community engagement coordinator and internship coordinator. In this role, she plans events, handles fundraising and outreach while also showing students interested in the field what a career in public health could possibly look like. Prior to this role, Landin interned with Texas Senator Roland Gutierrez's office handling casework and outreach - so it was in many ways a natural transition into her current role.

Landin's degree in public health at first might not seem like a natural fit for an engagement coordinator, but she believes that without it, she wouldn't have landed this role.

“I handle multiple clients, and every case that comes in has a different background, literacy, health literacy, social services need, etc.,” she said. “You have to meet them where they are so you can understand how they can be helped. One of the major things I learned in my degree is that you can’t expect everyone to be on the same page.”

Landin is passionate about public health and looks forward to educating her clients about services and health literacy.

“At the end of the day, public health is in everything,” she said. “It's in policy. It's when you walk out the door, when you wash your hands - it's so ingrained in day to day life that it's sometimes overlooked. And I'm really excited to see where the future of public health goes.”

— Amanda Cerreto