UAlbany Undergraduate Students Observe Social Determinants of Health in the Capital Region

Undergradute public health students went on a bus tour through a varety of neighborhoods in the Capital Region to observe the difference in health outcomes based on zipcodes.

Zip codes matter to health. Undergraduate students took this knowledge to the streets as they toured neighborhoods in the Capital Region to compare and contrast environmental factors that influence health status. Dwight Williams, director of the University at Albany, SUNY, undergraduate public health program, led a group of 16 students on a bus tour through a variety of neighborhoods, from affluent to low-income, in Albany and Rensselaer counties. Students observed differences in the amount of green space and grocery stores offering fresh food, public housing and make-shift memorials in honor of victims of violence, abandoned buildings and pollution, among many other influences. The tour concluded at the University at Albany, SUNY, School of Public Health in which students discussed their observations and related them to differences in health outcomes based on zip codes.

The tour incorporated a visit to Student Poster Day in which graduate students presented their internship and research projects, providing additional inspiration to undergraduate students to become future leaders in public health. This is the second year in which the bus tour took place. Marline Vignier, an alum of the graduate public health program, participated both years, providing her experience as a public health professional addressing health disparities.