Public Health

Building on the School's successful health programs, the new undergraduate program in public health will prepare students to address continuing and emerging health challenges on a broader scale through the development and implementation of health promotion and health protection strategies targeted at individuals, groups, and communities. The undergraduate program in public health will prepare graduates for entry-level career opportunities in a variety of settings as well as prepare students for graduate studies in public health or other related fields.

Why a Career in Public Health?

Although the U.S. spends far more on medical care than any other nation, these investments in health care have not resulted in improved health outcomes. In fact, the U.S. ranks well below many of its global counterparts and competitors on a number of health outcomes including, overall life expectancy and the incidence of preventable diseases and injuries. According to a recent Institute of Medicine report, "a fundamental but often overlooked driver of the imbalance between spending and outcomes is the nation's inadequate investment in strategies that promote health and prevent disease and injury population-wide." The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has placed renewed focus on health promotion and disease prevention and the need for more professionals who are able to develop policies, conduct research, and implement strategies to improve the nation's health outcomes.

Overview of the Program

As a broad based, interdisciplinary discipline, the undergraduate public health program curriculum capitalizes on the strengths of faculty in the School of Health Sciences as well as faculty in the School of Arts, Education, and Sciences. The program incorporates curriculum guidelines and undergraduate learning outcomes recently developed by the Association of Schools of Public Health. Graduates of the program will be prepared to work in a variety of settings and engage in a wide range of health promotion, health protection, and disease prevention activities. At the completion of the program, it is expected that graduates will have the necessary knowledge and understanding related to:

  • The U.S. and other selected healthcare and healthcare delivery systems
  • Structures for and approaches to developing health policies and health policy analysis
  • Population health perspectives and the needs of vulnerable populations
  • Social and behavioral theories applicable to health behavior and how these theories may be applied to address a variety of public health issues
  • Principles of epidemiology necessary to understand health and illness
  • Methods to assess population-wide health concerns
  • Health promotion and protection strategies
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to identifying and eliminating or controlling public health issues
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