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2019 Fall Welcome

Dear Students,

A very warm welcome to the fall semester from the Boston College Program in Global Public Health and the Common Good.  

We welcome those of you who are enrolled in our new Global Public Health minor and those who will be taking our public health courses. We look forward to getting to know you, and we are keen to make your participation in the minor and in all of our courses a positive, productive and fulfilling experience. 

A very warm welcome also to our incoming freshmen of the Class of 2023 and to our returning sophomores of the Class of 2022. We invite those of you who are interested in public health to consider applying for the Global Public Health minor when applications open next spring. You can apply from every school and every major across Boston College, and you can apply in the spring of either your freshman or your sophomore year. While it is not an absolute prerequisite, we strongly encourage you to enroll in the one-semester course, "Introduction to Public Health" (NURS 1210), which is offered in both the fall and the spring semesters, before you apply for the minor.  

For those of you not familiar with public health, it is "the science and art of promoting good health, preventing disease and prolonging life through the organized efforts of society". Public health is a highly interdisciplinary field. It studies the health of populations and it examines the social, political, economic and environmental conditions that shape health and disease. It is deeply rooted in a philosophy of social justice, and it aligns with the Boston College mission as well as with Pope Francis’ teachings in Laudato Si’ that call upon all of us  to care for our planet, end social and economic injustice, and prevent the disease, disability and premature death that fall disproportionately upon the poor. 

Public health is relevant to a wide range of academic majors and careers.  It is obviously pertinent to medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry and nursing. But public health is relevant also to students interested in the humanities, business, economics, environmental science, law, public administration, political science, international studies and education who wish to learn how patterns of health and disease can influence children’s ability to learn and societies’ capacity to adapt; enhance economic growth; transform civil society; and shape the destiny of nations.

We are happy to talk with you about our public health courses and about research and service opportunities in global public health.  We also love talking with students from a wide range of majors and minors about how knowledge of the core concepts of public health can help you to be a more effective, caring and humane practitioner of whatever path in life you chose to pursue. Please feel free to make an appointment with any of our faculty.

For administrative and logistical questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our team: Samantha Fisher (samantha.fisher@bc.edu), Greg Adelsberger (greg.adelsberger@bc.edu) or Geetanjali Vij (geetanjali.vij@bc.edu). 

And lastly, please visit our website at: https://www.bc.edu/content/bc-web/centers/schiller-institute/programs/global-public-health.html.  

Again, welcome!

Phil Landrigan


Global Public Health is the science and art of safeguarding health, preventing disease, extending productive life and improving the well-being of all people in all the countries of the world.

The focus of Global Public Health is on population health. It studies patterns and trends of health and disease in communities, states and countries and analyzes the social, political, economic and environmental conditions responsible for these patterns. It studies disparities in health by race, ethnicity, gender, age and place of residence and conducts research to discover the preventable causes of these disparities. Epidemiology and biostatistics are its core scientific disciplines.

Global Public Health links closely to medicine, nursing, dentistry and veterinary medicine. It incorporates knowledge from fields as disparate as analytical chemistry, anthropology, architecture, business, computer science, economics, education, engineering, exposure science, genetics, law, meteorology, microbiology, physics, political science, psychology and urban planning. Public health education is an essential component of a liberal arts education.

Global Public Health is rooted in a philosophy of social justice. It embodies a preferential option for the poor.

Global Public Health is action-oriented. It engages in science-based advocacy and intervention to protect health and prevent disease. Its tools include epidemic investigations, immunization campaigns, water treatment programs, legislative initiatives, policy changes, emergency response, and education.

Global Public Health is Planetary Health. Global Public Health is deeply involved in slowing the pace of global climate change, the world’s gravest threat to human health. It is working to control pollution of air, water and soil, the cause of 9 million deaths each year.  It is committed ultimately to preserving the health of the planet, our Common Home, for the sake of this generation and of generations yet to come.

The Program in Global Public Health and the Common Good at Boston College was established in 2018. It is rooted in the Jesuit Catholic tradition of rigorous scholarship, education in the liberal arts, and service for others. It prepares our students to create a more just, humane and sustainable world.


 The Boston College Program in Global Public Health and the Common Good encompasses