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Masters in Public Health

Health administration is of interest to many students, some of which may wish to work on the administrative side within a hospital setting. Others are more interested in the public policies that help define this health care system, and they may be better suited to a Masters in Public Health. These include a variety of different options as far as academic focus goes, ranging from legal to economic courses. Some understanding of the health care system and how the policies are defined is also important. Classroom exercises and readings are combined with field research or internships.

There are several advantages to pursuing Public Health Master's programs online, as opposed to the traditional classroom setting that many may be more familiar with. In most cases, the coursework and reading lists are actually the same, but this discussion can be carried on without having to take the time to commute out to a physical campus. Because this is such a prevalent method of study, employers take online credentials just as seriously as a more traditional degree type, and in fact many of the larger universities in the country offer online courses as a regular part of their degree offerings so the name on the diploma would be the same.

There is a wide range of different job options that may be open to graduates of this type of program, including placement within consulting firms, working as a program coordinator within a non-profit setting, or in the research sphere.

Additional Public Health Universities

  • Johns Hopkins University The Master of Public Health (MPH) program is open to students who have at least two years' work experience in a population-oriented field of healthcare. The school offers a flexible part-time format for working professionals, with many of the courses available online. The MPH is also open to medical students who wish to complete a joint degree.
  • University of Pittsburgh has developed a Graduate School of Public Health that offers several graduate degrees including the Master of Public Health in seven different academic areas of concentration. Those six options for MPH candidates are Behavioral & Community Health Sciences, Biostatistics, Environmental & Occupational Health, Epidemiology, Health Policy & Management, Infectious Diseases & Microbiology, and Human Genetics.
  • University of Minnesota offers one of the most comprehensive educational programs in the field. The Master of Public Health (MPH) has ten areas of specialization that include the MPH in Biostatistics, Community Health, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Maternal & Child Health, Administration & Policy, Public Health Medicine, Public Health Nutrition, and Veterinary Public Health. There are also Master of Science degrees in several of these areas, designed for research and teaching careers
  • Boston University Master of Public Health program has eight areas of concentration: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, Health Policy & Management, International Health, Maternal & Child Health, Law, Bioethics & Human Rights, and Social & Behavioral Sciences. There is also a Masters International Program (MIP) that is an MPH program joined 27 months of field work in the Peace Corps, working in the field of Global Health.
  • Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine offers the Master of Public Health degree, a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) which an academically oriented program requiring a thesis; and a Master of Public Health & Tropical Medicine degree which is fit for students interested in global health and possible work with an agency such as the U.S. Peace Corps.

Public Health Professional Associations

  • American Public Health Association is the oldest and largest public health organization in the world, originally established in 1872. The APHA has a strong membership program and also engages in active advocacy in Capitol Hill; the headquarters is located in Washington DC. There are over 50,000 individual members and state associations that act as branches for policy advocacy in state capitals.
  • Association for Professionals in Infectious Disease and Epidemiology is an organization for professionals who specialize in epidemiology, and who work as 'infection preventionists'. The organization offers a certification program for infection prevention professionals that is good for five years and then requires recertification. There are continuing education programs available through APIC, including a set of courses that focus on ambulatory surgery.
  • American Association for Health Education is a national organization for public health professionals and others who engage in health education as a primary profession. The AAHE has a comprehensive professional education program for its members, offered as online courses and webinars. They also publish the American Journal of Health Education, along with a newsletter for members, and provide materials for members who are engaged in advocacy efforts.
  • Society for Public Health Education was founded in 1950, for the sole purpose of providing a professional organization for public health educators. The SPHE offers continuing education courses through the website and through the U.S. chapters, of which there are twenty that cover thirty five states. The organization is extremely active in public policy advocacy, conducted primarily through the Society branches working on state and regional policy matters.
  • American College of Epidemiology was founded in 1979 as a professional organization dedicated to helping develop criteria for the recognition of professional epidemiologists, and to provide ongoing educational opportunities. ACE sponsors regional and national meetings, many of which are used as educational forums for attending members. There is also a mentoring program for new members who are entering the profession.

Public Health Accreditation

  • Council on Education for Public Health is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the accrediting body for graduate schools of public health, and for accreditation of public health education programs offered by other educational bodies. Many universities have public health programs located in their medical schools, and community health education programs are also found in Master of Nursing (MSN) courses of study.
  • Association of Schools of Public Health was active in establishing the Council on Education for Public Health as an accrediting body in 1970. However the organization remains active in setting standards for its member schools, and has been active in recognizing the online MPH an doctoral programs that are made available by schools that are established members.
  • National Board of Public Health Examiners was established in 2005 by several prominent universities with schools of public health and by the American Public Health Association to develop a formal credentialing process for public health professionals. The organization offers a series of free webinars about the certification process and schedules exams in multiple locations throughout the country.
  • Public Health Practitioner Certification Board is an Illinois-based organization that grew out of an effort by Illinois public health officials and schools of public health to improve the state's public health system. The University of Illinois/Chicago took the lead in developing criteria for certifying public health administrators and public health facilities, establishing a certification program for the state and for regional/county agencies within the state.
  • Public Health Accreditation Board is a recently established (2007) organization that is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The purpose of this body is to develop credentialing standards for public health departments operated principally by the counties in each state. In 2009 the organization launched its beta test for the credentialing procedure, in which 39 state, county, and tribal public health organizations are participating.
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