Gift ideas for the fellow public health nerd

If you’re anything like us, we love giving very thoughtful gifts to our friends and family around holidays and special occasions (what can we say, we’re just so good at gifting).

We thought it would be a great idea to channel some of our creativity here, and provide you with gift ideas for the fellow public health nerds in your life. Our recommendations include books, games and toys, miscellaneous public health themed gear, and a few non-public health gift ideas, essential for life.

To be completely transparent, PH SPOT is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. The links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase (which you do by clicking the link on the images), PH SPOT will earn a commission (yay!). Be assured that this commission comes at no additional cost to you. If you choose to purchase any of these items, we want to thank you in advance for your click through these links.

Click on the images below for more info on each product – happy gifting!

Public Health Books

The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus

I was always obsessed over this book. I was introduced to it in undergrad, and finally got to read it once I graduated from my Masters program. The stories are so descriptive that you can literally put yourself in the shoes of the public health heroes! “The bestselling landmark account of the first emergence of the Ebola virus. A highly infectious, deadly virus from the central African rain forest suddenly appears in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. There is no cure. In a few days 90 percent of its victims are dead. A secret military SWAT team of soldiers and scientists is mobilized to stop the outbreak of this exotic “hot” virus. The Hot Zone tells this dramatic story, giving a hair-raising account of the appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their “crashes” into the human race. Shocking, frightening, and impossible to ignore, The Hot Zone proves that truth really is scarier than fiction.”

To Repair the World: Paul Farmer Speaks to the Next Generation

“Here, for the first time, is a collection of short speeches by the charismatic doctor and social activist Paul Farmer. One of the most passionate and influential voices for global health equity and social justice, Farmer encourages young people to tackle the greatest challenges of our times. Engaging, often humorous, and always inspiring, these speeches bring to light the brilliance and force of Farmer’s vision in a single, accessible volume.”

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

There’s also a movie starring Oprah Winfrey! “Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.”

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

This is one of those books…“Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and now a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.”

Public Health Games & Toys

Pandemic Games and Expansions

Wine, great friends, and nerding over public health…what more do you need this holiday? “As skilled members of a disease-fighting team, you and the other players work together to keep the world safe from outbreaks and epidemics. Only through teamwork will you have a chance to find a cure. Pandemic is a cooperative board game in which players work as a team to treat infections around the world while gathering resources for cures. First published in 2007, the game’s unique combination of cooperative gameplay, engrossing premise, and compelling design have proved a hit with everyone from hardcore gamers to casual players. The Pandemic game line now includes multiple expansions and stand-alone titles.”


Giant Microbes

Give the gift of E.coli, Cholera, or Ebola! Great for the desk, to cuddle with (weird?)….or just to keep on display!


Other Public Health Fun Stuff

Looking for those miscellaneous gift ideas that’s just a bit quirky, weird, and nerdy? Take a look at these: an “infectious waste” display, a public health tote bag, and some gear with fun stats lines.



Non-Public Health Gift Ideas…but great for #life

For reading….

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Okay, so we haven’t read this book yet, but want to so badly read it (we’ll be ordering a copy for ourselves). “In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.”

Ummm, yes, a bit of a controversial take on being happy, but hey, all perspectives are welcome! If you are still a bit skeptical about the book, here’s a blog version you can read (written by the author) to give you a bit of background.

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

 You know those plain white backgrounds with black text and a sketch floating on instagram…well it’s most likely one of Rupi Kaur’s poems. “From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.” Another one that’s going into our Amazon shopping cart!

For energy…for your phone & for your friend!

Original XIAOMI 5000mAh Ultra-thin 9.9mm Power Bank For Mobile Phone

Life changing. That’s all we can say about this product. We take the Xiaomi charger with us everywhere. It gives our phones up to 4 charges. With a busy life on the road, not worrying about your phone dying on you is always preferred. Give the gift of energy!

Starbucks Holiday Blend Packaged Coffee, 10 Ounce

Must we say any more? Starbucks is our favourite kind of coffee, and what better way to celebrate Christmas, then to gift it to a friend who feels the same way! Give them the gift of enjoying the 100% Arabica coffee at home during the holidays.

How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

 Will someone just put this book in our stockings? “From actress, comedian, and YouTube sensation Lilly Singh (aka Superwoman) comes the definitive guide to being a BAWSE—a person who exudes confidence, reaches goals, gets hurt efficiently, and smiles genuinely because they’ve fought through it all and made it out the other side. Told in her hilarious, bold voice that’s inspired over 9 million fans, and using stories from her own life to illustrate her message, Lilly proves that there are no shortcuts to success.”

We hope these suggestions made your shopping just a bit less stressful. As always, we love hearing from you. Send us an email at and say hi, or let us know if you chose to gift any of these items to friends and/or colleagues. It’s so nice for us to know if the content we put out there is valuable to our community. We’d love to hear from you!


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