Public Health

Bachelor’s in Public Health

Graduates of the Bachelor’s in Public Health program at American International College (AIC) will be qualified for entry-level career opportunities in a variety of settings, as well for graduate studies in public health or related fields.

AIC’s undergraduate program in public health prepares students to address continuing and emerging health challenges by developing and implementing disease prevention, health promotion, and health protection strategies for individuals, groups, and communities.

 

Why Choose a Career in Public Health?

The United States spends far more on medical care than any other nation, but our investments in healthcare aren’t resulting in improved health outcomes. In fact, the United States 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 or injuries. 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.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates will have the necessary knowledge and skills related to:

  • The US 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

Master’s in Public Health

The Master’s in Public Health (MPH) at AIC prepares students for careers dedicated to improving population health.  The program seeks to train the next generation of community leaders to address the social determinants of health that are at the root population health inequities, such as racism, discrimination, and food and housing insecurity.  Students will learn about effective collaborations between public health professionals and those working in urban planning, environmental science, health care administration, and education.  Over the course of the 42 credit program, delivered both online and through evening face-to-face classes, students will gain the knowledge and skills needed to be leaders of local, state, national or global population health initiatives.  The program has also been designed to fulfill the requirements necessary to attain future accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Features of the program
  • Take classes taught in a format that accommodates your schedule, by combining online learning and face to face classes.
  • Learn from a faculty with experience in community public health, health policy and management, global health, environmental health and epidemiology.
  • Benefit from public health training that is relevant and can be put to work immediately.
  • Gain real-world public health experience. Community engagement is built into the curriculum from the beginning, culminating in a final, community based public health project. You will work from day one with local organizations addressing social determinants of health.
  • Complete a career-focused assessment to help you determine how you can best use your skills and experience in the public health field.
  • Conduct meaningful work for local organizations, government agencies and businesses addressing social determinants of health.
  • Become trained in skills essential for working in public health, including interpretation of public health data, grant-writing, and program planning and evaluation.
  • Learn to advocate for change to make our communities healthier places to live.

Learning Outcomes
  • Apply an evidence-based approach to the planning, design, budgeting, implementation and evaluation of public health programs which are responsive to communities’ diverse cultural needs.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply fundamental concepts of epidemiology to the appraisal of public health evidence.
  • Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings
  • Assess the population health impact of public health problems and identify priorities for intervention using both qualitative and quantitative evidence.
  • Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and societal levels
  • Advocate for policies and programs that will improve population health based on an understanding of the evidence and policy-making process.
  • Assess the impact of health, economic and social policies on public health
  • Demonstrate ethical leadership of public health projects as interprofessional collaborators and coordinators.
  • Effectively communicate culturally competent public health information both orally and in writing.
  • The Public Health major prepares students for any number of satisfying careers helping Americans live longer, more fulfilling lives. It’s a great choice for students who want to put their intellect—and compassion—to work.

    —Dr. Fred Hooven, Director & Associate Professor, Public Health Program

    In the classroom. In the workforce.

    What You’ll Learn

    With a Public Health degree from AIC, you can be part of the solution to the health problems the US public faces.

    Future Studies

    As a graduate, you will be ready for entry-level career opportunities in a variety of settings, and for graduate studies in Public Health or other related fields.

    Career Opportunities

    As a graduate of the program, you 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.

    Bachelor’s in Public Health

    The program consists of a total of 120 credits: 42 general education, 47-48 credits of core courses and cognate courses requirements, 15 credits of a selected major-related concentration and 15-16 credits of free electives. Major requirements: 27-28 credits of public health (PCH) specific courses that reflect competencies for undergraduate public health programs set forth by the Association of Schools of Public Health; 20 credits consist of courses that provide support to the major (e.g. Bio- Anatomy & Physiology; healthcare finance, healthcare delivery system, and other related social sciences).

    Concentration: With guidance from the program advisor, students are required to select at least one concentration (15 credits) in an area of interest or anticipated career focus.

    Master’s in Public Health

    PCH5030 Population Health, Social Determinants & Health Equity
    PCH5032 Ethics in Public Health
    PCH5040 Principles of Epidemiology
    PCH5042 Public Health and the Environment
    PCH5200 Introduction to Statistics for Health Care Professionals
    PCH5202 Social and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health
    PCH6100 Health Care Management and Policy
    PCH6102 Health Care Systems and Financing
    PCH6200 Leadership in Public Health
    PCH6300 Health Care Program Development and Evaluation
    PCH7100 Research Methods in Public Health
    PCH7201 Capstone Seminar in Public Health
    PCH7501 Practicum in Public Health I
    PCH7502 Practicum in Public Health II

    Course Descriptions

    Overview of the basic principles of public health practice, including the infrastructure of public health, the tools employed by public health practitioners, biopsychosocial perspectives of public health problems, health promotion and prevention of disease and injury, quality assurance and improvement, and legal and ethical concerns.

    Overview of major global health issues; the socioeconomic, biological, and environmental causes and consequences of disease; and global health metrics, ethics, policies, and practices.

    Provides an introduction to principles of epidemiology, with a focus on preparation to read an interpret research in public health.

    This course will examine the essential concepts, principles, organizational skills, and political processes integral to the development, formation, and analysis of public health policy. Senior Level.

    The internship provides an opportunity for each student to apply the knowledge and skills acquired throughout the program by working under the guidance and direction of a public health professional. With the guidance of their program advisor, students may choose to complete the practicum in a public health setting that is of interest to them and aligns well with their career goals.

    The course will be situated within the historical context of the United States, including the social, political, economic, cultural, legal, and ethical theories related to health disparities. Several frameworks regarding health disparities will be used for investigating and discussing the empirical evidence on disparities, research and outcome measurement issues, policy and policy formation concerns, and intervention practices. Disparities will be discussed in terms of racial/ethnic differences in health and health outcomes as well as disparities among other subgroups (e. g., the poor, women, uninsured, disabled, and non-English speaking populations) will also be included and discussed.

    The ecological position of human populations within the global ecosystem and impacts of natural environmental factors and pollutants on human health will be explored. Specifically, how the body reacts to environmental pollutants; physical, chemical, and biological agents of environmental contamination; vectors for dissemination (air, water, soil); solid and hazardous waste; susceptible populations; biomarkers and risk analysis; the scientific basis for policy decisions; and emerging global environmental health problems.

    Overview of community health within the context of public health practice. Students will discuss foundations of community health, explore major health concerns, analyze determinants of health, and evaluate strategies to improve health of communities.

    Focuses on the knowledge, skills, and strategies needed for planning, implementing, and evaluating health education programs to facilitate health behavior changes in individuals, groups, and communities.

    This course focuses on the integration of public health knowledge, skills, and practice acquired during the program. Emphasis will be on summarizing, analyzing and synthesizing major key concepts and critically evaluating strategies to impact the health of the public. Focus will be on current health challenges locally and globally.

    Focuses on selecting and applying effective strategies and skills to plan, develop, and implement a culminating project that integrates coursework and internship experience. Provides students with the opportunity to focus on a key health issue in the community and/or one that is related to their intended career goals as a public health professional.

    This course introduces Master’s level students to the concept of “Population Health,” and the past and future roles of public health practitioners in improving the health of populations, with an emphasis on social determinants of health and issues of health equity. This course will begin with a review of the history of public health, and how the focus of population health efforts has evolved from the first efforts to control the spread of infectious disease to the current emphasis on social determinants of health and emerging infectious disease. We will discuss the delivery of health care in the U.S., and whether the current system or alternatives can best meet the goals of population health. Students will review and discuss specific approaches to improving population health that students will be exposed to in more depth later in the MPH curriculum. Students will be challenged to consider how affected populations can be engaged in the development and implementation of public health interventions, particularly those intended to have, “upstream” impact on social determinants of health and health equity.

    Having a solid understanding of ethical principles and frameworks for resolving ethical concerns is crucial to working in public health. This course will introduce students to ethical principles and frameworks for analyzing ethical issues in public health, and will incorporate case studies to allow students to apply ethical reasoning to public health problems.


    PREREQUISITES: PCH5030

    Epidemiology is the science of public health, and an understanding of epidemiologic methods is important to both evaluating evidence for both clinical and public health practice. This course will review basic methods and principles of epidemiology, addressing content areas including, disease transmission, measures of frequency of disease and of mortality and morbidity, study designs, measurement of risk, bias in epidemiology and how to address it, surveillance, screening, genetic epidemiology, and epidemiology in the policy arena. Throughout the course students will review recent epidemiological research and representations in the popular press and how such research has been translated to medical or public health interventions.


    PREREQUISITES: PCH5030

    This course introduces environmental health for students in the Master’s in Public Health program. Environmental health will be discussed in terms of interactions between humans and their environments, how humans create environmental hazards, how those hazards affect human health, and how public health professionals and others can prevent or mediate present and future adverse health consequences due to those interactions with the environment. In this context, basic environmental health concepts will be covered, including the built, natural and altered environment, types of environmental hazards, toxicology, risk assessment and environmental epidemiology, regulation and communication of environmental health hazards and preventive measures. Opportunities and cases of environmental interventions that have the potential to improve human health will also be discussed.


    PREREQUISITES: PCH5030

    Biostatistics is the development and application of statistical reasoning and methods in addressing, analyzing, and solving problems in public health; health care; and biomedical, clinical and population-based research. This course will focus on two areas, the ability to choose and employ the most appropriate statistics for research and evaluation in public health and developing the ability to critically interpret and apply results of statistical analyses contained in research studies. Students will have the opportunity to use the knowledge gained through the course in the interpretation and presentation of public health research.


    PREREQUISITES: PCH5030 and PCH5040

    In this course, students analyze public health issues from a social and behavioral sciences perspective and examine the strengths and weaknesses of particular theories for developing effective individual and population-based intervention programs. The course will address social and behavioral theories from psychology, sociology, anthropology and other disciplines that have influenced public health. Students will examine evidence related to the effectiveness of these theories in practice and apply these theories to examples of public health interventions.


    PREREQUISITES: PCH5030 and PCH5040

    This course will introduce principles of public health management and administration and will involve case studies of real-life public health management situations. Students will examine cases of both public and private sector health and public health administration, and in the process will review finance and budgeting, human resources, health informatics, continuous quality improvement, health law and ethics, principles of leadership, and the importance of communication strategies. The health policy process and advocacy for health policy change and strategies for influencing policy will also be reviewed.


    PREREQUISITES: PCH5030 and PCH5040

    This course reviews the workings of health care systems. The primary focus will be on the U.S. health care system, but through comparison to other health care systems. Students will study aspects of health care systems pertaining to providers of care, hospitals, health insurance, health care financing, access to care, health and safety, and population health. The U.S. system will be reviewed though its history, the major influences on the system socially, politically and economically, and in terms of the specific populations such as the medically underserved, the uninsured, and other vulnerable groups. Students will become familiar with the operational aspects of the health care system at private, local, state and federal government levels, and will discuss the effects of variation in key components of the system on different populations.58


    PREREQUISITES: PCH5030, PCH5040 and PCH5200

    This class will expose students to the theory and concepts of leadership and organizational change. Students will assess their own strengths and weaknesses as leaders and develop their own plans for improvement. Class activities and exercises will focus on leadership skills, such as team building, conflict management, and negotiation. In addition to reviewing the literature on leadership and organizational change, the course will address ethical and political considerations in leadership within health care organizations, and in mobilizing community efforts, using case studies and group discussions.


    PREREQUISITES: PCH5030, PCH5040, PCH5200 and PCH6100

    This course will cover the core knowledge and skills involved in program planning and evaluation and will provide hands-on experience in both program development and evaluation design. An emphasis will be placed on using evidence-based approaches, assuring fidelity to those approaches, and involving stakeholders in both the design and evaluation of community-based interventions.


    PREREQUISITES: PCH5030, PCH5040 and PCH5200

    This course is designed to introduce the graduate student in public health to the most widely used research methods in public health in the context of case studies and the peer-reviewed literature. Students will learn both quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as be introduced to mixed-methods research. Case studies and published research will be used to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches given different research questions, populations to be studied, and other methodological issues. Community-based participatory approaches to research will also be emphasized. Students will be expected to become critical readers of the public health literature and capable of identifying strengths and weaknesses of various studies.


    PREREQUISITES: PCH5030, PCH5040 and PCH5200

    As the capstone in the MPH degree, this course encourages students to reflect on the competencies they have acquired during the academic and internship phases of the MPH program, and it helps them to integrate their knowledge from all the public health disciplines and apply it to public health issues. In addition, we will incorporate this information into the job search and career development process. Faculty and students will discuss and provide joint feedback on identifying job opportunities, developing cover letters and resumes and preparing for interviews. Prerequisites: Successful completion of all prior courses in the MPH program.

    The public health practicum is a supervised practical field experience designed to provide students the opportunity to develop and apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the academic program in a public health or health care environment in which a public health function is performed. Each student works with the faculty advisor to arrange and complete a satisfactory field experience that fulfills the program’s practicum requirements.
    Prerequisites: Successful completion of all prior MPH courses with the exception of the Capstone Seminar.

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