Graduate Education in Public Health

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1 Graduate Education in Public Health Anne Sebert Kuhlmann, MPH, PhD Lecturer, Department of Anthropology Lecturer & Assistant Dean for Public Health, The Brown School October 24, 2011

2 In the 20 th century, public health led to dramatic improvements in quality of life Life expectancy in the U.S. increased 30 years over the 20 th century Ten great achievements of public health contributed 25 of those 30 years

3 In the 21 st Century, there are many challenges related to public health How do we improve access to health care in the US? What is the impact of poverty and inequity on health? How do we continue to control infectious disease? How do we reduce environmental hazards? What will be the impact of global climate change? How do we contain the impact of violence, injury, and substance abuse? Despite remarkable victories, how do we battle health problems such as chronic disease obesity and diabetes?

4 Why pursue a career in public health? Public health is an exciting and growing field of study. Public health is a diverse and dynamic field. Public health is a field geared toward serving others.

5 Who should consider a degree in public health? Public health is a broad field that suits a variety of interests and skills Data & research oriented Geared for the socially conscious A policy-oriented field A multi-disciplinary field People-oriented, practice-oriented

6 How can public health graduate degree enhance my career opportunities? Many public health jobs require a graduate degree in public health. Most public health professionals need at least a Masters degree for career advancement. A graduate degree enhances the skills earned as an undergraduate. A graduate degree provides a competitive edge over other professionals.

7 How can public health graduate degree enhance my career opportunities? Graduate degree program should help students: Gain knowledge on factors influencing local, national & global polices Acquire state-of-the-art quantitative and qualitative problem solving skills Develop multidisciplinary, collaborative strategies for solving health problems Enhance communication skills by working with diverse populations Be positioned for a leadership role in health promotion & disease prevention.

8 Where do public health professionals work? Public health professionals work in a variety of sectors. Public sector: local, state, & federal health departments Universities: public health researchers Non-profit Private sector

9 What are the career opportunities in public health? There are many types of opportunities, but most career opportunities are found in the following fields (with salary ranges 1 ): Biostatistics ($33,000 - $63,000) Epidemiology ($38,175 - $136,237) Health Education/Behavioral Science ($33,000 - $86,625) Environmental Health ($44,550 - $143,700) Health Services Administration ($37,050 - $161,400) International Health ($31,500 - $86,625) 1 Salary ranges are the actual salaries earned (adjusted for inflation using the national CPI - Bureau of Labor Statistics) within one year of graduation as reported by the most recent nationwide survey of graduates conducted by ASPH. Source:

10 Choosing a Public Health Program There are 49 accredited schools of public health and over 77 accredited masters of public health programs All accredited schools & programs meet rigorous accreditation standards. Each school/program has unique strengths in research, service and education. The CEPH website provides a complete list of accredited schools & programs of public health:

11 Structure of Graduate MPH programs The MPH degree will include coursework in 5 core areas of Public Health. Biostatistics Epidemiology Environmental health Health administration & policy Behavioral health Each school/program can tailor their curriculum significantly. Check with individual schools/programs for specific information

12 What is the difference between the different degrees? Many different degree programs for those that interested in studying public health. Key distinction: professional versus academic degrees Professional degrees: generally a greater orientation towards practice in public health settings MPH = Master of Public Health MHA = Master of Health Administration MHSA = Master of Health Services Administration Academic degrees: oriented toward students wishing to seek a career in academics and research MSPH = Master of Science in Public Health Doctorates: advanced degree beyond masters degree DrPH = Doctor of Public Health PhD = Doctor of Philosophy Q: How do I choose? A: What do you want to do with degree.

13 What undergraduate major should I choose? Graduate students of public health come from a variety of educational backgrounds Preparatory coursework for all areas of public health Introductory statistics Human biology Cultural context of health, illness, & disease (e.g., medical anthropology) Additional preparatory coursework for specific areas For Behavioral Sciences, courses in sociology, psychology, education or anthropology For Health Administration & Policy, courses in business, economics, or political science For Environmental health, courses in biology & chemistry

14 What are the entrance requirements? Academic record (GPA) and University Graduate entrance exam (GRE) scores Other aspects of an applicant's record: Experience volunteer and/or professional Be well rounded! Recommendations Essay(s) Clarity of career goals, to assess written competence Know WHY you want to study Public Health! Each program may set additional requirements for admission

15 Should I consider a dual degree in public health? Dual degrees are available to those that are pursuing degrees or have degrees in fields such as nursing, law, social work, public policy, business, medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine. A public health degree will help those in other fields understand the principles of public health and apply these principles to their practices.

16 Washington University Brown School Master of Public Health (MPH) Program

17 Innovative Problem-Solving Curriculum The Institute of Medicine recently recommended that programs in public health move towards a transdisciplinary approach This approach recognizes that public health questions are, by definition, beyond the purview of any single discipline. Focuses on problems and solutions, a cells-to-society approach Problem-solving involves broadly constituted teams that work across disciplines, combining their expertise, in the analysis of research questions

18 Cross-Cutting Themes in Public Health Several cross-cutting themes are emphasized throughout the curriculum: Transdisciplinary problem-solving Evidence-based public health Dissemination and implementation (to policy and practice) Health disparities Ethics in Public Health

19 Program Overview 45 credit-hour, 2-year, generalist degree Draws on the expertise & research of nationally-recognized faculty within Brown School and across the University Dual degrees available MPH/MSW dual degree MPH/MBA dual degree

20 MPH Curriculum First Year Second Year Fall Spring Summer Fall Spring Foundations of Public Health (6 credits) Biostatistics Epidemiology Cross Cutting Themes in Public Health (3 credits) Research Methods (3 credits) Foundations of Public Health (9 credits) Health administration & policy Environmental health Behavioral science/ health education Program planning, implementation & evaluation (3 credits) Practicum (3 credits) Transdisciplinary Problem Solving in Public Health I (3 credits) Topic choices in: Behavioral health Health policy Epidemiology Biostatistics Environment health International health Applied Linear Modeling (3 credits) Transdisciplinary Problem Solving in Public Health II (3 credits) Electives (2) (6 credits) Culminating Experience (0 credits) Elective (3 credits) Total Credits: 45 Total Credits Per Semester

21 Learn more: gwbweb.wustl.edu

22 QUESTIONS?

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