Skip to main content

Boise State Professors Discuss Why Civic Engagement and Public Health Go Hand in Hand

In celebration of National Public Health Week (NPHW), Master of Public Health students share what the theme of each day during NPHW means to them, faculty across campus and the Boise State community.

What is civic engagement?

“Civic engagement, the actions that we and our communities take to identify and address problems, shapes our opportunities to be healthy. By taking actions to get more civically engaged, like voting, we exercise our right to make decisions about our communities, like whether our neighborhoods have walkable sidewalks, how much funding goes to reproductive health clinics in our states and how prepared the nation’s infrastructure is for future pandemics and disasters.”  (APHA)

Why is civic engagement important to public health?

Smith portrait
Dr. Megan L. Smith – Boise State SPPH

Dr. Megan L. Smith is an Associate Professor for the School of Public and Population Health at Boise State University. She is committed to public health advocacy and deeply believes it is the mission of public health professionals to continue to advocate for and champion equity and health for all.

She shared a quote from Geoffery Vickers: “The landmarks of political, economic and social history are the moments when some condition passed from the category of the given into the category of the intolerable.  I believe that the history of public health might well be written as a record of successive redefinings of the unacceptable.” Smith shared that this is why advocacy is so important —  in order to enhance health for all we often have to redefine what is acceptable (or not).

How can students at Boise State be more civically engaged?

Rooks portrait
Kyle Rooks – Idaho Community Health Center Association

Kyle Rooks is the Government Affairs Director for the Idaho Community Health Center Association, who focuses on policy initiatives that support Idaho’s community health centers. Rooks shared that Boise State students play an important role in advancing public health advocacy through active participation in various opportunities such as: attending legislative town halls, engaging in capitol events and joining coalition meetings. These platforms allow students the opportunity to establish meaningful connections and enhance their influence as credible public health advocates.

The Idaho Primary Election is May 21, 2024. Nearly 80% of eligible voters do not participate in Primaries. Take part this May — find your Polling Location here!

Master of Public Health Student Authors: Alyssa Romero, Heather Terrall, Anita Suljic, Danielle Smith