MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Local non-profits received a helping hand from Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) students and faculty from the West Virginia University School of Public Health Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBHS) recently.  

With the coordination of the WVU Center for Service and Learning, the group visited Milan Puskar Health Right and Christian Help, Inc. for their new student orientation and an afternoon of volunteering.

“This was a terrific opportunity for both faculty and students to learn about and engage in locally driven public health practice and to get to know one another a little better, while actively serving the mission of the WVU School of Public Health,” Alfgeir Kristjansson, Ph.D., SBHS faculty member, said.

At Health Right, the students and faculty completed their new student orientation, which gave those on the two-year plan of study for the M.P.H. graduate program the opportunity to meet with their faculty advisers. Health Right staff then explained their work in the community. To encourage community engagement, all students completed applications for future volunteer opportunities at Health Right.  

That afternoon, the group strolled down the street to Christian Help, Inc. which provides food, clothing, household items, and emergency financial assistance to residents in need. Students and faculty sorted and organized clothing, shoes, and food, while learning more about all of the services Christian Help offers.  

“Public health professionals work as a team to address and solve community health issues,” Megan Whetzel, a second-year M.P.H. student from Petersburg, W.Va., said. “We made a difference in the lives of others and became closer as a team today – a great way to jump start the semester.”  

The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the School of Public Health has graduate students in three programs: Master of Public Health, Master of Science in School Health Education, and Ph.D. in Public Health Science. The Department’s mission is to conduct inquiries and application to achieve optimal health and reduce health inequities in West Virginia and the global community. Its vision is to improve health across the lifespan by uniting academic institutions and communities. For more information visit

For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087
trn: 10-16-14