GIVE THE MAN A GOLD NUGGET. One of the most engaging speakers I have ever encountered, at Columbia or otherwise. Colgrove is at once insightful, brilliant, wonderfully articulate, and an expert deadpanner. He is a maestro of the powerpoint, filling it with media from videos, 19th century magazines, newspapers, and other documents to illustrate the colorful history of public health in America.
The class material is well chosen, and the readings are substantial but on the slightly shorter side for a history class and could be skimmed because Colgrove is so crystal clear about the important takeaways in his lecture that you hardly have to take notes. If you do, a quick glance at them a week later would re-tell the narrative of that class. You'd be missing out to skip the readings, though, nearly all of which were worthwhile.
Shout-out to TA Ian Shin, an exceptional discussion section leader. He brought further insight into the texts, compared them well, and helped us synthesize and consider the broader narratives of the course. He was accessible for help week to week, and literally cleared his schedule to support us come midterm and final papers.
Do yourself a favor and take anything Colgrove teaches.