U of A public health students visited a senior center in Dangriga, Belize, several years ago. They conducted basic screenings for cardiovascular health, diabetes and vision. The new Master of Public Health program will also offer hands-on training and the opportunity to learn with accomplished faculty.
The public health field has received significant attention during the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the crucial role the profession plays in protecting and improving the health of people worldwide.
The general public has heard public health terms like flattening the curve, incubation period and herd immunity nearly daily for a year. The spotlight on this profession, along with an increased need for people in the field, has increased enrollment in higher education public health programs, including at the University of Arkansas.
The U of A is offering a new opportunity this fall. Applications are now being accepted for a new Master of Public Health program in the College of Education and Health Professions. The priority deadline to apply is March 1, but applications will continue to be accepted and reviewed after that date. In addition, the GRE is being waived for students who are admitted for fall 2021.
“This graduate degree will provide students the knowledge and skills they need to become effective and positive change agents for public health,” said Matthew Ganio, head of the university’s Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation. “This degree could be seen as similar to what the MBA degree is for the business world. It’s a level of knowledge that’s well respected in healthcare.”
The MPH is a skills-based degree that can lead to a wide range of jobs, including healthcare administrator, epidemiologist, or public health nurse. The degree focuses on preventing and mitigating disease outbreaks, such as the coronavirus pandemic, and health challenges like environmental pollution.
“This master’s degree would be a good decision for people in a variety of careers, including healthcare, of course. But even someone in business would benefit,” said Ches Jones, program coordinator.
The 42 credit-hour program will include coursework, internships and a capstone project. Master’s students may choose from two concentrations that are initially being offered: physical activity or public health practice. Future concentrations may be added to the degree based on demand and opportunities.
The variety of courses include foundational courses in public health, health behavior, health communications and epidemiology. Other core courses in the program have a focus on health policy, health systems and social determinants of health. Research and statistics courses are also an important component for any public health professional and are a key part of the program at the U of A.
Hands-on learning will be an integral part of the program and students will have the opportunity to learn with faculty who are accomplished in epidemiology, aging and health, health behavior and health communications, physical activity, and exercise science.
The program is in the process of becoming accredited through the Council on Education for Public Health to complement the accredited undergraduate degree in public health.
For more information, please contact Ches Jones, public health graduate coordinator, email@example.com, 479-575-4009 or Paul Calleja, HHPR department graduate coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org, 479-575-2854.