MASTER OF SCIENCE IN PUBLIC HEALTH & TROPICAL MEDICINE

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1 MASTER OF SCIENCE IN PUBLIC HEALTH & TROPICAL MEDICINE Department of Tropical Medicine, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine Effective June 1, 2015 The Master of Science in Public Health and Tropical Medicine (MPHTM) degree is a public health degree with a specialty in infectious diseases, and especially those diseases found in tropical regions. The curriculum consists of core public health courses and specialty courses covering the biological, medical, social, and epidemiological aspects of diseases that are more prevalent in tropical countries. A clinical track for health professionals with clinical backgrounds is also available, as well as a combined degree program (MD/MPHTM) through the Tulane University School of Medicine. The MPHTM program prepares public health practitioners to plan and evaluate disease control and prevention programs, physicians to better treat and evaluate tropical diseases, or students to pursue medical school and other medical professions. Employment is available in a wide range of non-government health and service organizations, as well as ministries of health and other governmental organizations. Physicians completing the degree program will also be eligible for the Certification Exam in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Traveler s Health offered by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, leading to employment opportunities in traveler s clinics and patient care in tropical diseases. A minimum of 42 credits of coursework is required for the degree. Students enrolled in the joint MD/MPHTM program are required to take 32 credits of public health courses. Because of scheduling and sequencing of courses, entry in the Summer or Fall Semesters is encouraged, but enrollment is open throughout the year. MPHTM degree requirements include: SPHTM public health core courses MPHTM program specialty courses (+ specialized clinical courses for students enrolled in the Clinical Track) elective courses (including independent study) a practicum a public health analysis paper Appendices 1-3 contain examples of typical schedules for students in the MPHTM, Clinical Tract, and joint MD/MPHTM programs. More information about the program can be found on the Tropical Medicine departmental webpage ( or by contacting the department at (504) or Information about the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (SPHTM), including programs, courses, and academic policies can be found on the school webpage ( 1

2 Students should also be familiar with the Policies and Procedures for Academic Standards within the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine found at Other academic policies and guidelines can be found at The Program Manager Kasi Guillot or ) can also answer questions in regards to procedures and policies and can assist in the application and admission process. Student Advising. Faculty advisors are assigned to students in the MPHTM degree program at the time of acceptance. Generally, advisors are linked to student interests as stated in the Personal Statement section of their application. Students can request a particular advisor or change advisors at any time during their tenure in the program. The advisor meets with the student at orientation, and at least once per year thereafter to guide the student in scheduling classes and to monitor academic progress. Following meetings with the advisor students should submit a signed form to the Program Manager indicating that the meeting has taken place. In addition, advisors can offer advice on career goals and opportunities. Students are also encouraged to meet with other faculty members within and outside the department for advice and guidance on academic and career matters. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all degree requirements have been met and all documentation has been properly submitted to the Program Manager. Public Health Core Requirements (15-18 credits). Students are required to take core courses in each of the six public health core areas (see below). Multiple sections of most core courses are available each semester (i.e., Fall, Spring and Summer). On-line courses for some public health core courses are also often available. Therefore, in terms of scheduling, these courses are generally the most flexible. Students that do not have a background in biological or medical sciences should take Biological Basis of Disease (TRMD-6010) their first semester or as early as possible. Other than that the order in which the public health core courses are taken is determined by convenience or the specific interests of the student. For example, students wanting to take advanced biostatistics or epidemiology courses as electives will need to take BIOS-6030 or EPID-6030 as early as possible since those courses are prerequisites for more advanced courses. The core public health courses are: Course # Name Cr. BIOS-6030 Introductory Biostatistics 3 EPID-6030 Epidemiologic Methods I 3 GCHB-6030 Social and Behavioral Aspects of Global Health 3 GEHS-6030 Survey of Environmental Health 3 GHSD-6030 Principles of Health Systems Administration and Management 3 TRMD-6010* Biological Basis of Disease (3) *MPHTM students with a strong biomedical background are strongly encouraged to take the challenge examination and waive TRMD Students with an MD degree or equivalent, or currently enrolled in the medical school, or students who have taken an equivalent graduate level course may be eligible waive TRMD Students wishing to take the challenge exam or submit a course waiver should contact course instructor (Dr. Wiser). 2

3 Program Specialty Requirements (16-19 credits). Students are required to take the following specialty courses focusing on infectious diseases of the tropics: Course # Name (semester offered) Cr. TRMD-6050 Medical Helminthology (Fall) 2 TRMD-6060 Medical Entomology (Spring)* 3 TRMD-6070 Medical Protozoology (Fall) 2 TRMD-6090 Parasitology Laboratory (Fall) 1 TRMD-6330 Microbial Diseases of the Tropics (Fall) 2 TRMD 6350 Disease Prevention and Control in Developing Countries (Fall, Spring) 2 TRMD-6420 Tropical Virology (Spring)** 3 TRMD-7000 or TRMD-7020 Tropical Medicine Seminar or Infectious Disease Seminar (Fall, Spring) 1+1 *TRMD-6060 is not required for students enrolled in the Clinical Track. **TRMD-6420 is not required for students enrolled in the joint MD/MPHTM program Clinical Track Physicians and other eligible health care professionals (eg. MD, DO, DVM, RN, etc) desiring specific clinical training in the diagnosis and treatment of tropical diseases should take additional courses on the clinical aspects of tropical diseases. Completing the MPHTM specialty requirements and the following courses are necessary to be eligible for the Certification Exam in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Traveler s Health offered by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Students in the Clinical Track will not be required to take Medical Entomology (TRMD 6060). A sample schedule can be found in appendix 2. Clinical Track Requirements Course # Name (semester offered) Cr. TRMD 6310 Clinical Tropical Medicine (Fall) 2 TRMD-6340 Diagnostic Laboratory Methods in Microbiology (Fall, Spring) 2 TRMD-6360 Clinical Tropical Medicine Case Presentations (Fall) 1 Students in the clinical track must take Tropical Medicine Seminar (TRMD-7000) at least once to fulfill the specialty requirements. Joint MD/MPHTM program A joint MD/MPHTM program with the Tulane University School of Medicine is also available. Students in this program should complete all of MPHTM special requirements and the Clinical Track Requirements with the exception of Medical Entomology (TRMD 6060) and Tropical Virology (TRMD 6420). Students enrolled in the joint program will primarily take public health and tropical medicine courses during their sophomore and senior years. The clinical track courses should be taken in the senior year. A sample schedule can be found in appendix 3. 3

4 Electives. Students may select electives offered by the Department of Tropical Medicine or any department in the school, as well as any graduate level course offered throughout the university. Students should take elective courses that are consistent with their career goals and program objectives. The importance of electives in program management, epidemiology, and biostatistics is often stressed since good managerial and analytical skills will strengthen the overall public health competency. Up to 6 credits of independent study (TRMD-7990) can be counted towards the MSPH degree. However, an individual independent study can be no more than 3 credits. Independent studies can be based on laboratory, field, or library research. In consultation with a faculty member serving as the independent study instructor, students develop a title and goals and submit an Independent Study Registration form ( In addition, the student and faculty member directing the independent study must fill out and sign a departmental independent study form which can be obtained from the Program Manager. Independent studies involving laboratory or field research also need to follow the procedures described in Appendix 4. Waivers and Transfer Credits. Public health core courses may be eligible for a waiver if students can demonstrate prior graduate level course work or pass a challenge examination in the subject. A student does not receive credit for the waived course. The waiver allows the student to take additional elective courses instead of the core course. Students wishing to waive a core course should first submit the waiver form ( and supporting documentation to the Program Manager of the department in which the core course is taught. This Program Manager will obtain the necessary signatures and the signed form should then be returned to the Department of Tropical Medicine Program Manager for proper processing. Additional information on waivers can be found in the Policies and Procedures for Academic Standards ( Credits taken for courses at other institutes may be eligible to be transferred to Tulane. SPHTM departments reserve the right not to accept credit toward a SPHTM degree. Courses to be transferred must be at the graduate level and cannot have been used to fulfill the requirements of another degree. No more than 25% of the credits for a degree program can be transferred (i.e., 11 credits). Rules governing the transfer of credit and the procedure for transferring credit are found in the Policies and Procedures for Academic Standards ( Students wishing to transfer credits from another university should complete the transfer-credit form ( attach the supporting documentation, and obtain all of the required signatures. The completed and signed form should then be returned to the Department of Tropical Medicine Program Manager for proper processing. Waivers and transfers should be implemented as soon as possible after the student matriculates. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all of the necessary forms have been submitted and approved. Practicum. Students are required to complete a practicum as part of the degree requirements. The practicum may be waived only for students with at least three years of documented public health- 4

5 related work or research experience. The practicum consists of a minimum of 200 contact hours in a work related or practice experience. The details of the practicum and the procedures for registering a practicum can be found on the SPHTM webpage and in the Practicum Handbook ( Students in the Peace Corps/Master's International Program have slightly different requirements and forms. All of the forms in the practicum handbook need to be completed, signed and appropriately filed in the departmental office. A practicum report prepared in accordance with the practicum handbook needs to be submitted to the department upon completion of the practicum and before graduation. The academic advisor will evaluate and, if satisfactory, approve the practicum report. The complete practicum report and signed forms are due no later than the last day of class during the semester in which the student plans to graduate. Students should register for SPHL-9980 Practicum (0 credits) during at least one of the semesters in which the practicum is being carried out. Students can register for SPHL-9980 up to five semesters or until the final practicum report (form E) is submitted. A $50 registration is assessed, but no other tuition is required. Students registered for SPHL-9980 are considered full-time students for financial aid purposes. A wide range of activities can fulfill the practicum requirement. Most students either carry out a field placement (i.e., internship-like activity) or laboratory or field based research for their practicum. However, students are encouraged to choose a practicum that matches their career goals and learning objectives. A field placement may be with a health agency, a clinical laboratory, or an individual health professional working on a project related to public health in the United States or abroad. Typically international field placements are carried out during a semester or summer when no other courses are being taken. Examples may involve monitoring infectious disease in rural health clinics of endemic areas, clinical tropical medicine studies in hospitals, or research in government or university laboratories in tropical countries. Such practicum experiences are arranged with and approved by academic advisor. Most international experiences are funded by the student. Students carrying out laboratory or field research within the Department also need to follow the procedures described in Appendix 4. Joint MD/MPHTM students complete their practicum requirements by completing their medical school curriculum and by completing the MD/MPH rotation in the third or fourth year of medical school. More information of the joint MD/MPH degree practicum can be found at Culminating Experience. Students will write a Public Health Analysis (PHA) to fulfill the culminating experience requirement of the MPHTM degree. Additional information on the culminating experience and PHA can be found in the culminating experience handbook ( During or prior to their final semester, students must register for SPHL (Cul Exp Public Health Analysis). A $50 fee is assessed, but no automatic full-time status is granted as with SPHL Students also need to fill out and sign the Culminating Experience Completion Form ( and submit it with the final version of the PHA to the advisor. The advisor (or other designated departmental faculty) will evaluate the PHA and sign the form 5

6 if the PHA meets departmental standards. The completed culminating experience and signed forms are due on the last day of class in which the student plans to graduate. The PHA is a substantive review and discussion of a selected topic or field important to public health. Students should identity a specific issue, question, or problem related to tropical medicine and/or public health and formulate a hypothesis or state goals and objectives related to this question or problem. The topic should be focused on a specific question and not a general review on a broad subject. The PHA can be based on research results generated by the student, analysis of a data set available to the student, or a search of the literature. In the case of a PHA based upon a literature review, current scientific papers related to this problem should be identified and thoroughly analyzed in regards to whether the published data support or refute any stated hypotheses or contribute to the goals and objectives of the analysis. The academic advisor or other mentor should provide guidance in selecting a topic, preparing and editing the document, and determining if it meets the requirements and is of sufficient quality to merit graduation. More information on preparing the PHA can be found in the culminating experience handbook and in Appendix 5. As students near the completion of their course work, they should begin discussing the culminating experience with their advisor. This should be done as early as possible, but no later than the beginning of the semester the student plays to graduate. Students must send a draft of the paper to the advisor or faculty directing the culminating experience at least one month before the end of the semester. The advisor will then provide the student with timely feedback in regards to the acceptability of the PHA and any additions or changes that will be required. If requested by the advisor, the student should be prepared to turn in the final report two weeks before the end of the semester or other mutually agreed upon date. The advisor will then evaluate the thesis or PHA and determine if it is acceptable. The final paper and electronic versions of the PHA along with the signed Culminating Experience Completion Form must be turned into the Program Manager no later than the last day of class of the semester the student plans to graduate. 6

7 Appendix 1 Model Schedule for Students Entering in the Fall Semester Fall Semester (year 1) Credits TRMD 6050 Medical Helminthology 2 TRMD 6070 Medical Protozoology 2 TRMD 6090 Parasitology Laboratory 1 TRMD-6330 Microbial Diseases of the Tropics 2 +/- TRMD 7000 or 7020 Seminar Public Health Core Courses Spring Semester (year 1) TRMD 6060 Medical Entomology 3 TRMD 6420 Tropical Virology 3 TRMD 6350 Disease Preventive and Control 2 TRMD 7000 or 7020 Seminar Public Health Core Courses Electives Identify possible practicum site Summer Semester 0-3 Public Health Core Courses 0-9 Practicum Fall Semester (year 2) +/- TRMD 7000 or 7020 Seminar Public Health Core Courses Electives Finish Practicum and culminating experience December graduation if requirements are fulfilled. Spring Semester (year 2) Finish coursework and other requirements for May graduation 7

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9 Appendix 2 Model Schedule for Clinical Track Students Entering in the Fall Semester Fall Semester (year 1) Credits TRMD 6050 Medical Helminthology 2 TRMD 6070 Medical Protozoology 2 TRMD 6090 Parasitology Laboratory 1 TRMD-6330 Microbial Diseases of the Tropics 2 +/- Clinical Track Requirements 0-5 +/- TRMD 7000 Tropical Medicine Seminar Public Health Core Courses Spring Semester (year 1) TRMD 6420 Tropical Virology 3 TRMD 6350 Disease Preventive and Control 2 TRMD 7000 Tropical Medicine Seminar Public Health Core Courses Electives Identify possible practicum site Summer Semester 0-3 Public Health Core Courses 0-9 Practicum Fall Semester (year 2) +/- Clinical Track Requirements 0-5 +/- TRMD 7020 Parasitology Seminar Public Health Core Courses Electives Finish Practicum and culminating experience December graduation if requirements are fulfilled. Spring Semester (year 2) Finish coursework and other requirements for May graduation 9

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11 Appendix 3 Model Course Schedule for Joint MD/MPHTM Students Freshman year, Spring Semester TRMD 6320 Preventive Tropical Medicine 2 BIOS 6030* Introductory Biostatistics 3 Total 5 Summer between Freshman and Sophomore Year (or summer before Freshman year) GHSD 6030* Principles of Health Systems Administration and Management 3 Total 3 Sophomore year, Fall Semester TRMD 6050 Medical Helminthology 2 TRMD 6070 Medical Protozoology 2 TRMD 6090 Parasitology Lab 1 EPID 6030* Epidemiologic Methods I 3 Total 8 Sophomore year, Spring Semester TRMD 7000 Tropical Medicine Seminar 1 GCHB 6030* Social and Behavioral Aspects of Global Health 3 GEHS 6030* Survey of Environmental Health 3 Elective 1-3 Total 8 Senior Year, Fall Semester TRMD 6310 Clinical Tropical Medicine 2 TRMD 6330 Microbial Diseases of the Tropics 2 TRMD 6340 Diagnostic Laboratory Methods in Microbiology 2 TRMD 6360 Clinical Tropical Medicine Case Presentations 1 TRMD 7000 Tropical Medicine Seminar 1 Total 8 *Order of public health core courses can vary. 11

12 Appendix 4 Department of Tropical Medicine Laboratory Practicum/Independent Study SOP Any MSPH or MPHTM student wishing to complete an Independent Study or Practicum in the Departments research laboratories needs to adhere to the following guidelines: 1. Before work in the laboratory can begin the student must be properly registered and all necessary forms need to be completed and approved by the student s academic advisor & submitted to the Program Manager (PM) for processing. 2. The P.I. and the student should have clear and written guidelines detailing the practicum/independent study objectives. For an Independent Study the student should be given a detailed description of how the Independent Study will be graded and what is expected from the student. Faculty can obtain the Independent Study Expectation Form from the PM, Practicum paperwork can be found in the Practicum Handbook on the school s website. 3. A student needs to complete all necessary training, paperwork and be fully registered for Independent Study/Practicum before they can begin. 4. The start date of a Practicum/Independent Study is the first day of a semester and ends on the last day of the semester. 5. The practicum requirement can be fulfilled over multiple semesters; however an Independent Study should be completed within one semester. 6. The total number of credits will be proposed by the P.I. and the Department will determine if the proposed contact hours meet the academic requirements. An Independent Study can be worth 1-3 credit hours. 7. Students cannot begin their practicum in their first semester without first seeking permission from the Dean. 8. Per federal student worker guidelines; Students who are participating in Practicum or an Independent Study are not considered employees and their schedules should not exceed 15 contact hours a week. Projects must be completed by the end of the semester. 9. All hours need to be logged weekly on a timesheet and submitted to the PM on a biweekly basis. (Can be obtained from the PM). Departments must maintain full documentation of each special study taken by their students. All documentation needs to in the students departmental file. 12

13 Appendix 5 Recommended Elements of the Public Health Analysis The Public Health Analysis (PHA) is a substantive review and discussion of a selected area of public health. The PHA should contain some or all of the following elements: Title Page: In addition to including a descriptive title, author, and date, the title page should include a statement to the effect: A Public Health Analysis submitted to the Department of Tropical Medicine in partial fulfillment of the Masters of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. Abstract: A succinct summary, preferably less than 500 words, which includes key points of the background and significance, the methods, the results, and any conclusions derived from the analysis. Background and Significance or Introduction: A brief description of the published literature relevant to the public health issue or research being addressed. Any gaps in our knowledge or understanding of the topic should also be identified. It does not need to be exhaustive, but should be thorough enough so that the reader can understand the overall importance of the project. Also supply definitions and explanation of terminology if needed. Hypothesis, Goal(s), Objective(s), Question(s), and/or Rationale: At the end of the Introduction, make some statement in regards to the specific purpose of the project. Methods: For a literature analysis, include information about data sources accessed, key words used in the search, years included in the review, and the approach and criteria used to abstract the data. For a hands-on research project, summarize the research design, data collection, laboratory techniques, evaluation methods, and statistical analyses used to carry out the research. Results: This is the most important section and should include a detailed description of the results or findings. For a PHA based upon a literature analysis, tables and figures can be derived directly from the studies being analyzed and properly cited, or data from multiple studies can be combined to generate unique tables or figures which summarize the findings. For a PHA based on research results, figures and/or tables containing detailed legends must be included. Discussion: A general summary of the results should begin this section followed by some discussion of whether the hypothesis was proven, the objective(s) met, or the question(s) answered. Limitations, biases, and other interpretations of the results should also be addressed. The results should also be compared to other published studies and possible 13

14 discrepancies discussed. Other Discussion items include how the study enhances our knowledge or understanding in the field, additional questions that are raised by the study, or future studies to better address the issues. Conclusions and/or Recommendations: State any conclusions derived from the project. Provide recommendations for future research or changes in public health practice or policy. Literature Cited or References: Provide a list of literature and webpages cited in the text. There is no specified format, but the format should be consistent throughout the document. Complete bibliographic information and URLs should be provided. Appendices: Items included in the appendix can include but are not limited to: questionnaires or surveys, data sets deemed too large to be included in the Results, and materials developed as a result of the project. 14

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