July 22, 2024
Jennifer Yruegas on Enhancing Public Health Through Education Investments

Jennifer Yruegas on Enhancing Public Health Through Education Investments

Jennifer Yruegas is the Dean at Pacific University College of Business and a professor in the Master of Business (MBA) in Healthcare Management program, where she teaches Health Law and Regulations. She is working to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in today’s competitive business and healthcare landscape. In the following article, Jennifer Yruegas explores the critical intersection of education and public health, shedding light on how strategic investments in education can drive significant improvements in public health outcomes.

In the realm of public health, education stands as a fundamental pillar with far-reaching impacts. The relationship between education and health is profound, intricate, and bidirectional, with each influencing the other in significant ways.

Jennifer Yruegas Delves into the Link

Education and health share a symbiotic relationship, where improvements in one domain often lead to advancements in the other. Numerous studies have demonstrated the direct correlation between educational attainment and health outcomes. Individuals with higher levels of education tend to live longer, healthier lives than those with lower levels of education. This correlation holds true across various measures of health, including chronic disease prevalence, mortality rates, and overall well-being.

Access to Education and Health Equity

Access to quality education plays a crucial role in promoting health equity and reducing health disparities within communities. Jennifer Yruegas, Pacific University College of Business Dean explains that education serves as a tool for empowerment, enabling individuals to make informed decisions about their health and access essential healthcare services. This is why, as part of the College of Business at Pacific University’s Healthcare Management MBA, we stress the power that administrators have in driving policies that promote access to healthcare. By investing in education, policymakers can address social determinants of health such as poverty, unemployment, and inadequate healthcare access, thereby fostering healthier populations and narrowing health inequities.

Health Literacy and Disease Prevention

Education enhances health literacy, which refers to an individual’s ability to obtain, understand, and apply health-related information to make informed decisions about their health. A population with higher levels of health literacy is better equipped to engage in preventive health behaviors, such as maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and seeking timely medical care. By promoting health literacy through education, communities can empower individuals to take proactive steps to prevent disease and promote wellness.

Socioeconomic Factors and Health Outcomes

Jennifer Yruegas reports that socioeconomic factors, including income, employment status, and educational attainment, exert a significant influence on health outcomes. Individuals with higher levels of education tend to have greater access to economic opportunities, stable employment, and higher income levels, all of which contribute to better health outcomes. Moreover, education equips individuals with critical thinking skills, problem-solving abilities, and resilience, which are vital skills for navigating life’s challenges and overcoming common obstacles.

Education as a Determinant of Health

Education is recognized as a key social determinant of health, alongside factors such as income, housing, and access to healthcare. As such, investments in education have the potential to yield long-term benefits for public health by addressing underlying social determinants and promoting health equity. By prioritizing education policies that enhance access to quality education for all individuals, policymakers can lay the groundwork for healthier, more prosperous communities.

The Role of Education in Health Promotion

Education plays a vital role in health promotion efforts, providing individuals with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to lead healthier lives. Schools serve as important settings for health education, where students learn about topics such as nutrition, physical activity, mental health, and substance abuse prevention. Additionally, community-based education programs and outreach initiatives can further reinforce healthy behaviors while empowering individuals to make positive lifestyle changes.

Investing in Education for Better Health

Given the undeniable link between education and health, investing in education emerges as a strategic approach to improving public health outcomes. Jennifer Yruegas notes that by allocating resources to education infrastructure, expanding access to quality schooling, and addressing disparities in educational attainment, policymakers can lay a foundation for healthier communities and populations. The College of Business at Pacific University, through its Healthcare Management MBA program, exemplifies this approach by training future leaders to implement effective educational and health policies. By promoting lifelong learning opportunities and adult education programs we can ensure that individuals continue to develop their knowledge and skills throughout their lives, leading to sustained improvements in health outcomes.


Jennifer Yruegas, Pacific University College of Business Dean, understands that the connection between education and health is undeniable, with education serving as a powerful determinant of health outcomes. By investing in education, policymakers can address underlying social determinants, promote health equity, and empower individuals to lead healthier lives. From enhancing health literacy and disease prevention to fostering socioeconomic opportunities and promoting health-promoting behaviors, education plays a multifaceted role in shaping public health outcomes. By not only recognizing the critical link between education and health but also prioritizing investments in education, we can create healthier, more resilient communities for generations to come.