Celebrating Public Health Week: UIW Hosts “The Future of Public Health” Panel

April 12, 2024

PresentersIn celebration and recognition of Public Health Week, the University of the Incarnate Word hosted an illuminating panel discussion titled "The Future of Public Health," moderated by UIW’s medical director, Dr. Shaylon Rettig on Wednesday, April 3.

According to the National Public Health Week website, “Public health is more than just health care. It's the steps we take to make sure our neighborhoods and environment are free from pollution. It's making sure our food and water are safe to eat and drink. It's also the relationships we foster in our communities. We're all interconnected.”

Dr. Erlinda Rodriguez, assistant professor at the Ila Faye Miller School of Nursing and Health Professions and UIW’s Community Health Education program director, shared that, “Public Health Week allowed us to reaffirm our commitment to empower individuals with knowledge, skills and resources to lead healthier lives, and to foster environments that support well-being for all."

The event brought together esteemed experts to delve into the evolving landscape of public health and its implications for the future. Dr. Ashley Love, director of Graduate Studies at the UIW Dreeben School of Education, lent her expertise in educational approaches to public health to the discussion. With a wealth of experience in academia and public health practice, Love provided a look into the intersection of education and health, emphasizing the importance of innovative teaching methods and interdisciplinary collaboration in addressing complex public health challenges.

Joining Love on the panel was Athea Buchanan, regional director of American Income Life. As a seasoned advocate for public health policies and initiatives, Buchanan brought a unique perspective to the discussion, offering valuable insights into public health advocacy and policymaking. Her expertise shed light on the crucial role of advocacy in driving positive change and shaping the future of public health at both local and global levels.

Throughout the panel discussion, participants engaged in a thought-provoking dialogue, exploring various facets of public health and envisioning pathways for progress in the years to come. Topics ranged from addressing health disparities and promoting health equity to leveraging technology and data analytics for more effective public health interventions.

Rettig, as the moderator, guided the conversation, prompting panelists to share their expertise and facilitating a dynamic exchange of ideas among attendees. The event provided a platform for students, faculty, and community members to network with professionals in the field and deepen their understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing public health today.

“The panel was an eye opener for me,” shared Rettig. “I did not realize the vast range of topics and issues that are considered public health. We live and are impacted by public health every day and we don't realize it."

The Public Health Panel on the Future of Public Health catalyzed meaningful discussion and collaboration, inspiring attendees to contribute to advancing public health efforts in their communities and beyond. The insights shared by Dr. Love, Ms. Buchanan, and Dr. Rettig will undoubtedly inform and shape the direction of public health initiatives for years to come.


Credits to Dr. Shaylon Rettig and Dr. Erlinda Lopez Rodriguez