Health promotion major and future physician Jaquarius Raglin strives to serve his community.
“We have the power to influence and promote positive health behaviors to our peers. Communicating health information in a simple and teachable way can go a long way,” he said.
Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion (BSHP) with emphasis in Behavioral Medicine, African American Studies Minor
What attracted you to a degree and/or certificate in public health?
What attracted me to a degree in public health was my realization of the major impact that public health has on the public. I was drawn to the College of Public Health due to its smaller size. I switched from Franklin College of Arts and Sciences to gain a more personal connection with faculty members and advisors. Since switching, I have been welcomed with open arms and a path that involves more application-based courses. I feel much more connected to my peers and my professors.
Why did you choose your particular concentration?
I chose my concentration in behavioral medicine because of my ultimate career goal of becoming a practicing medical doctor. I am very interested in the functions of the brain and why humans behave the way that they do. I knew that this concentration, with its primary focuses on disease prevention and community health, would allow me to gain a deeper understanding of the holistic human being and their cognitive functions. I want to use this knowledge when I become a doctor so that I am striving towards the holistic care of my patients.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your time at the College?
The highlight of my time in the College of Public Health was completing a service-learning project for HPRB 3020S with my cohort. Many members within my cohort, including myself, chose to volunteer for 20 hours at the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. The Food Bank taught me a lot about the Athens community outside of the university setting. By participating in mobile pantries, food sorting, and distribution, I was actively participating in reducing food insecurity in the Athens area and surrounding communities. Many individuals and families in our area are dependent on resources that come from the Food Bank, and I am proud to have represented our college in fighting food insecurity.
Do you have any volunteer experiences that were especially meaningful?
Throughout my time at UGA, I have volunteered with Brooklyn Cemetery revitalizing the various gravesites and cleaning around various areas of the cemetery. I found out about this volunteer site from being an African American Studies minor. Because of my interest in African American history, I enjoy visiting the site and reading about the many individuals who were in Athens before my time.
While I do a lot of volunteer work within the Athens community, I still contribute to my hometown by volunteering annually with the Thomaston Community Christmas Kitchen. This event serves to provide holiday meals to residents in Thomaston, GA that may be elderly, ill, and/or in need of a warm, holiday meal. I have volunteered since my sophomore year of high school. This experience is meaningful to me as I get to interact with members of my community and provide meals and a smile for those in need.
What activities/achievements/awards during your time here are you most proud of?
During my sophomore year of college, I was selected to be an Orientation Leader for the university. This experience was truly one of a lifetime as I was able to make connections with 15 other dynamic leaders as well as welcome in nearly 5000 incoming students and their families.
My time participating in various programs in the Office of Institutional Diversity has strengthened my love for the university as well as my love for the recruitment of African American students. Within the office, I have worked as a student assistant, served as High School outreach for Georgia Daze Minority Recruitment, been an ambassador for the Georgia African American Male Experience program, and participated in the Louis Stokes Alliance Minority Participation program. Each area within OID has shown me how to be a more effective leader and how my experiences matter as a minority on the UGA campus.
During my sophomore year, I was the undergraduate recipient of the Lee Roy B. Giles Encouragement Award through the Department of African American Studies. Under the direction of Dr. Chana Kai Lee, my class created a virtual exhibit called The Lynching Project through the UGA digital library. The project involved taking certain Georgia counties into consideration and conducted research using primary, secondary, and tertiary sources to find out the African American individuals who were brutally murdered (lynched) within the time period of the mid-nineteenth century through the twentieth century. Winning the Lee Roy B. Giles Encouragement Award reaffirmed to me that the research we conducted was important.
During my junior year, I became a member of the Zeta Pi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Becoming a member has allowed me to be an even greater servant leader and uphold the aims of manly deeds, scholarship, and love for all mankind.
What did you do for your internship?
This summer I was an intern for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I served as the first intern to ever work with both the Public Health Law program and the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity. While the experience was virtual, I spent nearly three months doing important work for the organization. I spent many weeks analyzing peer-reviewed journal articles, technical manuals, and video conferences on health equity. Each week, the Public Health Law program organized pieces of training on various public health topics such as legal writing, social determinants of health, emergency law, public health law, and chronic disease prevention. My major project with both offices consisted of performing legal epidemiology to determine if and how states were advancing social determinants of health. I viewed 121 statutes and court orders from 26 of the 50 states in the country.
How has the pandemic impacted your educational experience at UGA and CPH?
The pandemic has had two impacts on my experience and UGA and the CPH. One impact was that the pandemic showed the importance of the work public health does for the nation. I never thought that I would be in an experience where I would live through a pandemic and actually use it as an educational tool. The second impact for the university has been the switch from in-person learning to virtual learning. While I did learn during the 20-21 school year, it was not something that I enjoyed. I love being in the classroom, making connections with my classmates and professors, and actually leaning into the lecture and having discussions on course content.
What insights have you gained as a public health student?
I have realized that we as public health students must look at health equity without the health modifier to understand, apply, and strengthen health equity. We have the power to influence and promote positive health behaviors to our peers. Communicating health information in a simple and teachable way can go a long way.
What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to take a gap year before applying to medical school. I am dedicating this semester to figuring out what will be done in the gap year following graduation.
Posted on September 16, 2021.