Victoria Zigmont, an assistant professor of public health at the University of Mississippi, has published her first book, “The ABC’s of Public Health,” in an effort to make public health issues easier to understand for young children.
When Zigmont started brainstorming ideas for her book, she looked at other ABCs books, such as “ABCs of Engineering,” because alphabet-driven children’s books have become popular.
“In these times, it is important for everyone to start learning about public health, even at a young age,” she said. “It also allows parents and teachers to open a discussion.”
In the process of writing the book, Zigmont said she thought about big issues and topics in public health to prioritize which areas to cover. Some topics covered in the book are food safety, global health, mental health, quarantine and vaccinations.
“I then worked with an illustrator on the images and published the book on Amazon,” she said. “I chose self-publishing to get the book out there quicker.”
Zigmont said she was compelled to write the book because she wants to make public health accessible to everyone. Parents and teachers are her target market.
The inspiration for the book came from multiple friends in her network who are having kids in a time where knowledge of public health is crucial for everyone.
“I was thinking about kids’ books about public health and how this was another way to make public health accessible to more people,” Zigmont said.
The book provides a creative platform to educate and entertain children, said Allison Ford-Wade, associate dean of community engagement and professor of public health in the UM School of Applied Sciences.
“Dr. Zigmont’s love for public health is evident in her new children’s book, as she provides a fun introduction to the field of public health,” Ford-Wade said.
Zigmont chose to pursue a career in public health to help others.
“At one time I may have wanted to be an M.D., but realized I can help more people by doing high-quality public health research,” she explained. “My focus is on making the next generation of public health researchers.”
While this is Zigmont’s first book, she promises that it is not her last.
Besides her teaching, Zigmont also is director of Epidemiology and Translational Research Laboratory, which focuses on projects aimed at understanding the epidemiology of chronic disease prevention across the lifespan.
“My research is in epidemiology, primarily in chronic diseases and food insecurity,” Zigmont said.