Public health experts find their passion for the field in different places. For Amy Eyler, it was a Discount Drug Mart in Independence, Ohio.
Eyler went to college intending to be a physical therapist but found the one-on-one work wasn’t what she had imagined.
“I hated it,” she said. “I became almost lost.”
She dropped out of school and worked at the Discount Drug Mart’s cosmetics counter, stocking products and talking to customers and pharmaceutical reps. One woman told her that her company paid employees to exercise during the workday to encourage better health.
“That just fascinated me,” Eyler said. “I couldn’t believe it was a workplace priority. That got me interested – you can reach tons more people in public health.” She returned to college at Ohio University to study community health education, starting a fulfilling academic career path that led to the Prevention Research Center.
From time to time, she reflects on her fortuitous meeting at the cosmetics counter.
“If I didn’t meet that woman,” she said, “I would still probably be putting shampoo on shelves.”