Now that the Masterís of Public Health (MPH) program has successfully transitioned to the department of environmental health, program director Bill Mase, DrPH, and faculty members in the department are continuing to help it grow and expand in many ways.
As part of that, two new concentrations will be offered this fall for students coming to UC for MPH training, with more additions coming down the pike.
In this Q&A, Mase talks about the new options and where the program is headed in the future.
What are the new concentrations being offered this fall? How will these concentration additions strengthen the program and the success of future public health experts coming from the program?
"The department of environmental health faculty curriculum subcommittees have developed and approved two new concentrations that were routed to the UC Graduate School the first week of July. These concentrations, environmental public health and biostatistics, will effectively double the size and capacity of our MPH programófrom two to four concentrations. The departmentís epidemiology faculty is currently working on the development of an MPH Epidemiology concentration that we hope to have routed and approved later this summer or in the autumn. Additionally, there are plans to explore the expansion of the MPH program to also include an MD-MPH joint-degree program and a Global Public Health concentration with faculty from the department of family and community medicine as well as affiliated faculty within UC and the broader regional academic-community partnership.
"The development of these new concentrations will place UC in an excellent strategic position. Currently, there is only one university in Ohio that has the full complement of concentrations that we are planning to advance. In fact, UC, in a partnership with Cincinnati Childrenís Hospital Medical Center, is exploring the development of a Maternal and Child Health MPH concentration. Given the international reputation of our regional maternal and child health initiatives, UCís MPH program will be the first in the State of Ohio and one of the few accredited MPH programs in the nation along with Boston University, George Washington, Tulane, UC-Berkley, the University of South Florida and UNC-Chapel Hill to offer a maternal and child health focus. By adding the two new concentrations, and in the next few years, expanding to offer the additional public health degree options, UC will be well positioned to serve students from the state of Ohio, the nation and globally as a public health degree program, with cross-curricular strengths and all core plus UC-identified areas of excellence.
"The additional concentrations will strengthen the UC MPH program by giving graduate students in public health the option to select advanced, focused study in the newly developed concentration areas. The program has been successful in attracting the highest-caliber graduate students from within the State of Ohio, nationally and internationally; the opportunities to bring additional students to UC to study in the expanded areas will be a tremendous developmental opportunity. As the program grows, it will become an additional faculty recruitment opportunity for the College of Medicine as public health is a highly desirable field.Ē
In general, can you explain the importance of this program, not only locally but globally, and how its placement in environmental health is beneficial to its growth?
"The program was recommended for the maximum five-year accreditation following our site visit in March 2012. During the accreditation site visit, the UC team was advised that we needed to look at expansion as the department of environmental health has the strength of faculty and resources to support the full complement of a public health program with five to seven concentrations or specializations. The program has attracted a number of international students and the faculty from the department and our academic partnership are truly global experts in their areas of research and expertise. I honestly believe the there is no other MPH program in the state of Ohio that can compete with UCís program with regard to strength of faculty and expertise in global issues in public health. Over the next few years, faculty from the department are committed to working with faculty in the College of Medicine, specifically to develop an MD-MPH program that will be a model program of excellence in global public health education, service and delivery. Of specific interest here is the ability of the UC faculty to deliver education in practice that attends to the changing public health policy perspectives at a global level.Ē
What are your programmatic goals in the next year? How do you hope to see the program grow with these new additions?
"I can say that Dr. Shuk-mei Ho, chair of the department of environmental health, has a defined goal that we grow the program from the current numbers of students to four times that number. By developing the new concentrations, we will have the structural capacity to admit substantially greater numbers of students.Ē
Details on New Concentrations:
Students enrolled in the biostatistics concentration will complete a total of 45 semester hours, including 18 semester hours in the core MPH courses, a minimum of 18 hours of study in approved biostatistics concentration courses and a minimum of nine semester hours in the practicum and capstone phase of the program. The biostatistics concentration prepares students to take positions as statistical consultants, data analysts or project managers in health-related organizations, such as pharmaceutical companies, state and federal health care organizations, research establishments focusing on clinical trials, statistical consulting companies and academic establishments requiring bio-statistical support.
Environmental Public Health Concentration:
Students enrolled in the environmental public health concentration will complete 18 semester hours in the core MPH courses, a minimum of 18 semester hours of study in approved environmental public health concentration courses and a minimum of nine semester hours in the practicum and culminating experience phase of study. The environmental public health concentration prepares students to take and/or advance careers in public health-related fields. Graduates of the MPH program with a concentration in environmental health are appropriately trained to assume leadership positions in agencies including but not limited to the Environmental Protection Agency, National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, local health departments, state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nonprofit agencies and for-profit agencies.