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Otterbein’s Eta Sigma Gamma honorary brings national recognition for Public Health Education majors

Otterbein’s Eta Sigma Gamma honorary brings national recognition for Public Health Education majors

The newest Otterbein University honorary society chapter is only less than a year old, but already helping to elevate the Public Health Education program’s national status.

“One of our students was wearing the Eta Sigma Gamma (ESG) pin on their shirt while we were at the 2016 Health Expo kickoff event for Minority Health Month this past semester,” said Rob Braun, associate professor of Health and Sport Sciences (HSS), “and another Ohio vendor came over and said they were a member and talked to them for a while. We’re also now listed on Eta Sigma Gamma’s website. Those things make me proud.”

According to their website, the mission of ESG is promotion of the discipline by elevating the standards, ideals, competence and ethics of professionally prepared men and women in Health Education. The triangle in the honorary’s logo represents three tenants of the organization: service, research and teaching.

Braun says having ESG on campus provides Public Health Education students, and the program, additional notoriety and legitimacy.

“ESG just celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Being connected as a chapter now adds another point of recognition for Public Health Education, and a new leadership component for our students. We want them to get a lot of experience and engage in their community and nationally. ESG helps make that happen,” said Braun.

HSS was interested in having an Otterbein ESG chapter for several years, but they needed more students in the Public Health Education major to meet the 20 person threshold for membership. This past year in August they had the numbers so Braun reached out to Ashleigh Thornton ’17 to help with the process of starting the chapter.

“I began the paperwork in late August of 2016,” said Thornton. “I had to interview department heads, collect student demographic information via surveys and work with Dean of Professional Studies Barb Schaffner on submitting all the materials. We sent off our application in November and about a month later during winter break we received the news our chapter had been approved.”

After the whirlwind application process, Otterbein ESG inducted their first class of students in March 2017.

“I feel a lot of accomplishment and pride knowing that I helped to create this chapter. It’s a proud moment for all of us graduating seniors that it will be here to impact future students,” Thornton said.

As part of maintaining an active chapter, ESG students will be participating in a wide variety of professional and personal growth activities to earn active membership points. Student members will be volunteering at Otterbein’s Promise House food and resource center, working health and career fairs, researching and presenting on health initiatives and policies to the public, just to name a few ways they will be engaging with the community.

"My hopes for Eta Sigma Gamma currently is to build a foundation for our future honorees. Since this is so new, this year is going to take a lot of work to establish events and things that we do as a chapter,” said ESG President Tonia Dunson-Dillard ’19. “We decided to adopt the Promise House as our philanthropy partner because food insecurity is a rising topic within our Public Health world and right on our own campus. Public Health is important and I want the whole campus to know how dedicated we are to making sure we are successful future public health educators.”

Ultimately, having an ESG chapter at Otterbein not only opens more doors for Public Health Education students, but also to the university on a national scale.

“My students have fully embraced the values of ESG, which coincide with those of Otterbein,” said Braun. “I’m proud we get to be part of such a fantastic organization and am excited for all the opportunities it will bring us.”


Find out more about the Otterbein Eta Sigma Gamma chapter on their Facebook page.

Learn more about the Public Health Education program.