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August 2007 Issue

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New Public Health Master's Created

Published August 2007

UC Board of Trustees have approved the creation of a new degree program—a master’s in public health (MPH).

The university expects to enroll its first class of MPH students in fall 2008, following final state approval of program structure and curriculum. UC expects approval at the state level could come as early as fall 2007.

“UC’s Academic Health Center currently has training programs in all major health professions with the exception of public health,” says Ronnie Horner, PhD, chair of the public health sciences department and director of the Institute for the Study of Health. “Because this is an area of study that is becoming increasingly important to health professionals, it’s essential that we have an MPH degree available here at UC.”

Public health programs typically include five focus areas—biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, health systems, and social and behavioral sciences. UC’s program will be organized along those lines.

“By teaching the first principles of the five core public health sciences, and doing so in the context of ‘real world’ public health problems, we believe our graduates will have the preparation required for developing innovative solutions to the challenges they will face in protecting and improving the public’s health,” adds Horner.

Faculty in the public health sciences department say UC’s MPH degree will be unique compared with other programs across the country, because it will emphasize generation, evaluation and application of evidence for improving the public’s health.

“While evidence-based medicine is strong at UC, the application of an evidence-based approach to public health is something new among MPH programs nationally,” says James Boex, PhD, program director.

Boex is in the process of creating an office of community health within the public health sciences department. Through this office, he is enlisting the participation of regional public health commissioners and others in the health care field to ensure UC’s new degree program serves the public health needs of the city and region.

“We really want to serve as the academic base for public health practice in Greater Cincinnati,” says Boex.
Adding an MPH degree program has been a key priority for Jane Henney, MD, senior vice president and provost for health affairs, since her arrival in 2003.

“Other academic health centers across the state have similar programs, and we believe that offering this degree here at UC will only strengthen our many existing health programs,” says Henney.

Although based in the College of Medicine, the new MPH program will be supported by faculty with joint appointments in other departments within the four health colleges at the Academic Health Center and across the university. The College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services will offer a major in health promotion in conjunction with the MPH program.

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