Dean Martin gives students taste of public health policy on trip to DC

Nineteen College of Public Health students traveled to Washington, D.C., over spring break for a crash course in public health policy and advocacy.


  • Janaya Greene
March 27, 2018
Ohio State CPH Students in Washington D.C.
CPH undergraduate student Carra Gilson (left) and her peers grab a photo with Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California, an Ohio State alumnus.

Nineteen College of Public Health students traveled to Washington, D.C., over spring break for a crash course in public health policy and advocacy.

The trip was organized by CPH Dean William Martin II, MD, who had his first taste of health policy in 1994 as a senior health policy fellow in the office of Sen. Ted Kennedy.

With help from CPH staff and Ohio State's Office of Federal Relations in Washington, Martin set up meetings with lawmakers and officials such as Ohio Sen. Rob Portman; U.S. Surgeon General VADM Jerome Adams, MD, MPH; and American Public Health Association executive director George Benjamin, MD, to name a few.

“This trip was one of unparalleled opportunity,” says Carra Gilson, a third-year undergraduate student of public health sociology. “It challenged me to explore the critical connections that exist between pressing issues on Capitol Hill and their relation to our country’s holistic wellness in such a tangible way.”

Dean Martin II, MD and College of Public Health students pose after visiting the American Public Health Association.


The students put advocacy into action, engaging face-to-face with policymakers on issues such as health disparities, the opioid crisis, gun violence, health policy and veterinary public health (One Health).

“Before our time in D.C., I was unfamiliar with the systems that so directly navigate public policy’s influence on our well-being,” Gilson says.  “However, having spent three full days in our country’s capital actively connecting with influential leaders on relevant issues along with my peers, I now feel more empowered to recognize and engage with the intersections between political activism and public heath progress."

The group also spent an evening mingling with D.C.-area alumni of the college and special guest Phil Mattingly, CNN congressional correspondent and fellow Buckeye.


About The Ohio State University College of Public Health

The Ohio State University College of Public Health is a leader in educating students, creating new knowledge through research, and improving the livelihoods and well-being of people in Ohio and beyond.  The College’s divisions include biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health behavior and health promotion, and health services management and policy.   It is ranked 19th among all colleges of public health in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report, and also includes the top 10-ranked MHA degree program.  The College provides leadership and expertise for Ohio and the world through its Center for Health Outcomes, Policy and Evaluation Studies (HOPES), Center for Public Health Practice, and the NCI-funded Center of Excellence in Regulatory Tobacco Science (CERTS).