Malaria. Smallpox. Flu Virus. SARS. These are only some of the incredible amount of diseases that you learn about in my public health course MIEH 321 – Syphilis to SARS: Climate Change, Development and Emergence of Infectious Diseases. As a biology major, I was not inclined on taking a public health course, especially as a junior, because I am more intrigued with the genomic and anatomical side of things. Looking at the course name, though, (and the fact that I was required to take a UMCP USG elective from another program) I decided to try this course out. Now that I am almost done with the class, there is only one thing that I have to say about it- it rocks.
First off, I wanted to point out that anyone that is going to take Virology as a biology major should think about taking this public health course alongside it. The two classes actually mesh together really well. Numerous diseases that I learned about in Virology were talked about in great detail in MIEH 321. I learned information in the public health course that I could actually use to do assignments in Virology. Also, Virology taught me the genetics behind the diseases which were discussed in MIEH 321. I actually got pretty excited when I started to see the two courses blend together so much.
Next, in general I think anyone could be interested in this class. It is not a very large class. My class has about seven people in it at the moment. The great part about that is that we have tons of time to ask questions about all of these hard hitting diseases. We also know get to know each other really well so you make a lot of close friends and that also makes you more comfortable with asking whatever strange questions you might have.
My favorite part about this class has to be the videos and pictures that the professor shows to the class at the end of class every week. I wanted to post some but I think I am just going to have to make everyone take the class to see those! They seriously make me feel like a doctor sometimes because we are really analyzing these pictures for even sudden differences- for example the difference in pustule size and amount between being infected with variola major virus and variola minor virus (smallpox viruses).
Finally, this class is super helpful when it comes to knowing about current information about virus outbreaks. We went into discussions about the smallpox vial being found at the NIH and the outbreak of antibiotic-resistance that occurred at the NIH in 2012. As a pre medical student, I found that was some essential knowledge for me to know- especially since most of my biology classes do not really go into current events and the news.
I do not think that this class is offered a whole lot, but, when it is, go ahead and sign up for it. I promise you will not regret it. Seriously, who would not want to learn about the world of infectious diseases?