RECOMMENDATION That the Master of Public Health degree program proposal be approved.

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1 RESOLUTION FOR APPROVAL OF THE MASTER OF PUBLIC HEALTH (MPH) DEGREE WHEREAS, the mission of the proposed professional Master of Public Health (MPH) program is to create and deliver knowledge and skills for the study, evaluation, maintenance, improvement and protection of health of populations and communities; and WHEREAS, the proposed MPH program provides an opportunity to address serious community health deficits and disparities in southwestern Virginia and the Appalachian region as a whole, through professional preparation of the public health workforce and engagement in research and outreach; and WHEREAS, the 42-credit professional degree program will have two concentrations in public health education and in infectious disease, and will draw upon faculty expertise available in veterinary medicine, the School of Education, statistics, human development, food science and technology, entomology, and others; and WHEREAS, professional training in public health is a complementary field of study for students in veterinary medicine and in human medicine, and the MPH is a sought-after related credential for students enrolled in DVM and MD programs; and WHEREAS, the creation of this program by Virginia Tech in collaboration with the new Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine reflects the efforts of the two institutions to enhance a mutually beneficial partnership; and WHEREAS, the Association of Schools of Public Health estimate that nearly three times the current number of graduates are needed over the next 12 years to replenish the public health workforce; and WHEREAS, the proposed program with two concentrations will prepare students for such jobs as infectious disease specialist, epidemiologist, public health preparedness specialist, communicable disease investigator, environmental health specialist, and health/community/public health educator; NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the proposed Master of Public Health degree program be approved by the Board, and forwarded to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) for their review and approval, with an anticipated start date of summer RECOMMENDATION That the Master of Public Health degree program proposal be approved. June 1, 2009

2 Master of Public Health (MPH) Program Overview: Building and maintaining a sufficiently large and appropriately trained public health workforce is paramount to the health of all Americans. The nation faces great health challenges resulting from increasing rates of preventable conditions like diabetes and obesity, health disparities related to poverty and ethnicity, and the re-emergence of infectious diseases due to globalization, climate change and other factors. While the need has grown, the public health workforce has actually been shrinking over the last three decades and is substantially smaller than it was in Virginia ranks 20 th out of 50 states in America s Health Rankings on major health determinants and health outcomes. Southwest Virginians, however, are less healthy than Virginians in general -- they die more often from preventable diseases and injuries. Serious health deficits and disparities affecting individual well-being and the economic viability of communities, especially in rural settings, have been recently documented for Southwest Virginia and the Appalachian region. Building on its existing strength in health education and infectious disease, Virginia Tech proposes to develop a professional Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. The program will offer two concentrations: Public Health Education and Infectious Disease. The program s mission is to create and deliver knowledge and skills for the study, evaluation, maintenance, improvement and protection of the health of populations and communities, and to train future public health leaders for Virginia and the nation. The program will be administered through the College of Veterinary Medicine. It will address crucial and global One-Health issues related to food safety and food security, and human interactions with animal populations (livestock, companion animals, wildlife) and the environment that impact public health. Integrating and expanding Virginia Tech s public health offerings in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine will effectively and efficiently address some of the most critical public health and health care education needs of Southwest Virginia, and advance public health practice in Virginia, across the United States and the globe. Program Curriculum and Delivery: Core competencies to be acquired in the forty-two credit professional MPH degree program include knowledge and skills in areas of general public health, epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health sciences, health services administration, and social and behavioral sciences, complemented by at least four courses in the concentration and one or more general elective courses. The practicum provides a structured experience to assess students mastery of competencies and their ability to apply course content to practice. The MPH final capstone project will be a research paper, thesis or electronic portfolio. Full-time students can complete the program in twenty-one months. Most courses will be

3 delivered in more than one mode, i.e. in classroom mode as well as in synchronous or asynchronous distance education (e-learning) modes. Requirements for Admission: The program will be open to qualified students with bachelor s degrees, as well as to medical students of Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and veterinary students of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in a dual degree track. Mid-career medical, nursing, or veterinary professionals wanting to add public health expertise or the professional MPH credential may also enroll on a full or part-time basis. The time line calls for enrollment of the first cohort of students by summer A total of forty new students will be admitted to the program each year when at full operational capacity in approximately five years. Virginia Tech Graduate School admission criteria, a minimum score of 1000 on the GRE quantitative and verbal sections combined, and Test of English as a Foreign Language minimum scores for foreign students are required for admission into the program. Previous work experience in health related fields will be considered favorably for admission into the program. Program Learning Outcomes/Competencies: The MPH program will be guided by a set of required competencies closely aligned with those developed by the Association of Schools of Public Health that include: Five core discipline areas (Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Health Policy Management, and Social and Behavioral Sciences) An integrated interdisciplinary, cross-cutting set of overall competency domains (Communication and Informatics, Diversity and Culture, Leadership, Professionalism, Program Planning, Public Health Biology, and Systems Thinking) All students upon completion of the program are expected to demonstrate mastery of the following learning outcomes: Describe the role of public health professionals in protecting, improving and promoting health in communities Demonstrate understanding of the use of biostatistics and epidemiology in infectious and chronic disease etiology, occurrence and prevention; Design a public health program that utilizes core public health disciplines in solving community health problems; Define the role of public health in meeting community health needs; Prepare a public health program that reduces incidence and prevalence of diseases and/or high risk health behaviors in selected communities.

4 All students, in addition, will be required to master learning outcomes specific to their chosen specialization in either Public Health Education or Infectious Disease. Assessment of Learning Outcomes: Performance measures will be developed to assess student mastery of competencies and readiness for a career in public health. Students will be assessed on their demonstrated mastery of the core and concentration-specific competencies and learning objectives through three major modalities: coursework, practicum and the capstone experience. The practicum and capstone experience will demonstrate an integration of learning, an application of knowledge to real community health problems, and an understanding of the profession. Each course syllabus lists the relevant competencies and the course specific learning objectives. Assessments will be conducted by teaching faculty, each student s faculty advisory committee, as well as practicum preceptors. Program Benchmarks: Program goals will be congruent with the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accreditation requirements, with accompanying evaluation measures and benchmarks: Sustainable enrollments in the MPH program and satisfaction of graduates with the program as measured by post-graduation surveys; Graduation of highly qualified professionals who make significant contributions to the field of public health as measured by employer surveys of graduates; Development of partnerships between Virginia Tech and public and community health agencies that lead to additional academic (instructional, research and outreach) collaborations; Acceptance by CEPH into pre-accreditation status (Fall 2010), and final accreditation by the CEPH for 2 nd graduating class (Spring 2013) Program staff will periodically evaluate the program s progress in meeting its goals and will meet regularly with the program s Advisory Board for effective oversight. Stakeholders, including current students, alumni, faculty, community leaders, and employers, will be asked for feedback. The program will be reviewed on a regular cycle as a part of the Graduate School periodic Program Review. Employment Demand: Schools and programs of public health will have to train three times the current number of graduates over the next 12 years to replenish the public health workforce in order to avert a workforce crisis, according to the Association for Schools of Public Health (2008). According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of health educators is expected to grow

5 much faster than the average for all occupations and job prospects are expected to be favorable. Public health problems in Southwest Virginia will require more graduate-trained public health professionals to develop and implement appropriate public health programs. The work of Planning Districts and Community Services Boards, which includes local inpatient services, outpatient and case management services, day support services, residential services, and prevention and early intervention services, will be enhanced by a stronger, local public health workforce. A master s degree is required for most health educator positions. Examples of job titles for which MPH graduates will be qualified include public health infectious disease specialist, epidemiologist, public health preparedness specialist, communicable disease investigator, environmental health specialist, health officer, health and public health educator, community health educator, health promotion specialist, public health nurse, public health physician and public health veterinarian. Median annual earnings of health educators were $42,920 in Federal and state positions for public health veterinarians advertised in January 2009 had salary ranges from $56,000 to $110,000. Salaries for positions advertised in January 2009 for physicians holding an MPH degree ranged from $90,000 to $150,000. Student Demand: Graduate students currently enrolled in the MSED in Health and Physical Education, Health Promotions track, were surveyed as to whether or not they would have preferred the MPH degree instead of the MSED degree. Of students completing the online survey (December 2008), 65% would have preferred the MPH degree rather than the MSED degree. [The School of Education has recently proposed phasing out the current Health Promotions track in keeping with its strategic priorities in K-12 education with a particular focus on science, mathematics, and technology.] The coordinator of the current health promotions program, as well as the admissions office of the College of Veterinary Medicine have received an increasing number of inquiries about the availability of a professional MPH degree at Virginia Tech. The program is also of considerable interest to medical students since the MPH degree is the most common second degree sought by physicians. MPH Programs at Other Virginia Institutions: The Commonwealth of Virginia currently has three CEPH-accredited public health programs at the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and a joint degree program at the Eastern Virginia Medical School and Old Dominion University. A fourth non-accredited program is to start Fall 2009 at George Mason University. No MPH program is offered in Southwest Virginia.

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