By Caroline Woods
Hey there, my name is Caroline Woods. I am joining The Daily Iowan to write a regular column on community health. I will be around campus and on the Ped Mall, asking people what public-health issues interest them and what questions they have about health in our community. These questions and answers will serve as inspiration for my weekly columns.
You may be wondering, why should I trust a stranger to answer questions related to community health?
Well, here is my background: I am a current student in the University of Iowa’s Master in Public Health Program. I have also received a degree in exercise science at Iowa State and became a physician assistant at Des Moines University. My career in medicine and health has largely involved work with adolescents and young adults who are attempting to decrease their stress, depression, and/or addictions, and I was inspired to write this column because I believe that if we can each learn more about our health and well-being, collectively, our local community can be happier and healthier.
In order to give you, the reader, the best information possible I need to know what you would be interested in reading more about in this column. Topics to consider include exercising outdoors, practicing mindfulness, the Farmers’ Market, veganism, lawn pesticides, indoor air pollution, injuries in dog parks, and LGBTQ+ health. More compelling topics might include the heroin epidemic, harm-reduction principles, the precautionary principle, elitism in the “aspirational class,” death doulas and green burials, and Yondr.
I also plan to write about my favorite subject: the connection between humans and animals and its influence on our health. The fancy term for this is nature-based therapeutics. Nature-based therapeutics focuses on the role nature and animals can play in advancing the health and well-being of individuals and communities. I became passionate about this when I began learning how animals can play an integral role in our happiness and well-being.
So, if you have a question about community health, please let me know. You can contact me with suggestions, questions, comments, and concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.