As a public health professional and medical provider, I am well-versed in the benefits of interdisciplinary work and research. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with numerous professionals in health care, politics, private business, nonprofit, and academic sectors. Each experience reminds me of the importance of teaching our students how to work in interdisciplinary environments and be valuable members of these teams.
When I heard about the theme for this year’s issue of the Hudson College of Public Health magazine, I decided to look up the official definition. The Oxford English Dictionary defines interdisciplinary as “involving different areas of knowledge or study.” When applied to research, many agree it means combining or involving two or more academic fields. I would take the definition further to say that it involves researchers from different fields working together with a single mission or purpose. In public health, this often takes the form of practitioners working with various medical care professionals (e.g., doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and dietitians). Yet, due to the broad nature of public health, we also find practitioners working with engineers, architects, city planners, graphic designers and artists, local leaders, nonprofit agencies, political advocates, and many others. You will see some great examples of this in the faculty stories. The reality is that so much of what we do in public health is interdisciplinary that sometimes we may not even realize or think about it. For some, it’s very apparent that their research is interdisciplinary, but for others, it may be less noticeable. When you search for it, you realize that interdisciplinary research touches almost every part of academia. I might even say that it’s at the heart of academia itself. Read More...
Dale W. Bratzler, D.O., M.P.H.
Dean of the Hudson College of Public Health