Public Health Career Outcomes Webinar

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The University of Nevada Reno’s online Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice degree can prepare you for the diverse career opportunities in public health. Learn more about specific roles and the companies and agencies that employ public health professionals.

The information in this video may be time sensitive. Please contact an enrollment advisor for current deadlines and requirements.


Tracy: Hi, good afternoon everyone. Welcome to the University of Nevada, Reno Online Master of Public Health webinar. We are so happy that you are able to join us and know you are excited to hear from our presenters. My name is Tracy, I will be facilitating today’s presentation.
Before we get started, I wanted to cover a few housekeeping items. First, if you have any questions throughout the presentation, you can use the Q&A box on the left side of your console. We do have time reserved at the end of the webinar to answer any questions and will answer as many as time allows. The other thing we want to mention is this presentation is being recorded and we will send out the link in the next few days.

I’d like to start with an overview of the agenda for today.
We will start with introductions, followed by some history on the University of Nevada, Reno and the School of Community Health Sciences.
Then we will learn about the Public Health Practice concentration and how the comprehensive curriculum can prepare you for the various career opportunities in public health.
The highlight will be a presentation of current positions available in public health and how to find them. We will then learn about the specific admission requirements for the online MPH and finish with a Q&A session.

Starting with our introductions for today, we have Dr. Trudy Larson. She’s the Director of the School of Community Health Sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno. She was appointed following an impressive 27 year career at the University. As a pediatric infectious disease specialist, she has spent her career focusing on HIV/AIDS and immunizations and has contributed to both fields in research, education and service.

Dr. Leslie Elliott is the program coordinator of the Online MPH program and professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. While Dr. Larson will be presenting the information, Dr. Elliot will be available to answer questions during the Q&A as well. And then later on in the presentation we will be joined by one of our Enrollment Advisors Marcus Staples and he can give you information about the admission requirements.

So without further ado, I introduce you to Dr. Trudy Larson. Go ahead Trudy.

Trudy: Thank you! Hello, this is Trudy Larson at the University of Nevada, Reno where it’s beautiful blue skies and green grass just like you saw in that first slide. We’re a fairly well established University, having started in 1874 in Elko, Nevada which is quite a ways away from Reno, but it moved to Reno in 1885 on our current campus. It’s a very interesting history of how we’ve grown and if you’re interested there’s a website there all about the history. We are a Tier 1 University. We’re also a land grant institution and what that means is every state has a land grant institution that is responsibly serve the state and the community by providing degrees and well trained students that can support the needs of the community. And since many states and many communities all have similar needs, we also help with serving the nation and some instances, the world, which we really like to do. The School of Community Health Sciences was created under that name in 2004. However, it has a much longer history under a number of different school names. At one time, this was the College of Health and Human Sciences. It became the Ecology Program and then in 2004 became the School of Community Health Sciences. And shortly thereafter, the first MPH really started increasing its enrollment. So the first MPH started in 2000 as a generalist masters of public health. And as we talk about the curriculum for the Public Health Practice, it’s pretty similar to the generalist with a few exceptions which I’ll talk about. The MPH program then diversified in 2009 to start two different tracks, one in epidemiology the other in social behavioral health. And these were both accredited during our first CEPH accreditation visit in 2011. Health administration policy was then added in 2013 and biostatistics in 2015 and then of course this year we added our online Masters of Public Health in Public Health Practice.

At this school we have a lot of goals, we’re actually a very big school. We have 1400 undergraduate majors, 50 master’s students and five PhD students in the brand new PhD program. It’s a growing school and we’ve doubled in five years. So we have a lot of goals. To prepare future public health practitioners, researchers, educators and leaders. And although this starts with our undergraduate degree it clearly is important for masters of public health, particularly in the practitioners’ area. We have a goal to develop the knowledge base for public health through research. We have a very research active faculty with both federal and state grants and contracts to support public health and innovate in terms of how public health problems are addressed. Another goal is to be recognized for leadership in innovative approaches to public health we do this through the involvement of the school, in internships, in our faculty who lead and participate in many statewide, regional and national public health endeavors. We engage with multiple communities through professional and scholarly service and this is again through our internship which we have for our undergraduates as well as our masters of public health degree. That is really important way of engaging the community because it’s really through projects that make a difference. And so we value that internship for particularly for our MPH students as they get to practice their skills, but also they address real world issues in their own community. And then we very much have a goal to expose our students to diversity in multiple venues. And so as we look at how students are placed, we look at populations with great need. We look to see if they serve minority populations. We look at international placements and again these all help establish diversity which is critical in public health.

So what about public health practice and how did we come up this particular specialty. Well this is really a combination of two areas. We’re going to talk in more detail about them. One of these is the core competencies. The core competencies are present if every single CEPH accredited master of public health degree and so core competencies are how we measure student success. So what it means is you have developed this skill and you demonstrated by doing a number of different things. So it’s really the development of skills and competence in these areas. The core areas are epidemiology, social behavioral health, environmental health, health administration and policy, and biostatistics. To that core we have added a number of other specialty competencies. And these were developed from a very large work force survey we did about three years ago. At that time, we sent out a survey to public health practitioners, folks with public health interests, and non-profits etc. and asked them, what skills they feel they do well in and what skills would they like more practice in, information and skills building. So based on 840 respondents to that survey, we came up with a list of specialty areas that we believe people in public health really desire. One is health informatics, and this is the study of health information and how to analyze it, look at it, and access it. And this is for example, health insurance, health records, it has to do with large surveillance databases and how we actually look at that health information to use it in our work. Program planning and program evaluation are critical skills for many people in a variety of professions. Program planning is exactly that from needs assessment to development of a plan on how to address those needs to development of that program. Program planning is the second of step after implementation evaluation takes place to see if you’ve done what you said you would do. It’s evaluation that takes into account the skills that participants develop. Organizational behavior, really important class that really looks at how organizations function and the roles that different people in the organization have. Leaders, different levels of leadership, participants and how all of that gets managed and understood. Health services finance is all about finance and budgeting and is very important as particularly about public health agencies use grants and contracts for their budget purposes as well as their state or county budgets. Public health law, a very evolutionary area, where the law really helps with codifying policy really helps improve public health. For example, no smoking laws that’s all part of the public health law. And lastly, surveillance. Surveillance is a really fundamental science collecting the information in an organized fashion to find trends. This really builds on epidemiology to build surveillance programs; how they run and what they have as component pieces and what they do in terms of their jobs in public health. So they’re all really important components.

The curriculum was developed based on the need for those competencies so they’ll look very familiar as we go through this. So, for our core course. The first course you get to take is Research Methods for Public Health and this really loops everyone up to a level playing field in terms of understanding the research methods how you read the literatures, and really refreshed folks on the vocabulary used in Public Health.

The next one everyone gets to take is 712, which is Epidemiology, because to take the rest of your classes you need to understand epidemiology. Really they’re asking you to have Bio Statistics, Social Behavioral Dimensions in Health, and again these are really foundations courses found in that core that provides you the information you need as you move up in the level of competencies that are required. Health Policy Administration, covers both of those areas in that particular core course.

Then for the Public Health Practice, the real concentration areas. We have the Health Program Planning which is an individual course which goes through all of the components that I just talked about that goes through needs assessment and how you plan programs. Program Evaluation looks at the evaluation in a meaningful way. And often times you have to look at what you want to have happen before you actually plan your program and then with your evaluation you have to make sure you can actually evaluate it so you know what you’re collecting while you do your program.

The Epidemiological Surveillance, the Health Informatics, Organizational Behavioral and Health Services, Health Services – Finance, Public Health Law, those are the numbers that go along with the concentration areas.

In addition to this, we have two culminating experiences. These are really core to being able to utilize the skills that you are learning during this course and to put them into practice in your internship – which is your Field Study – and then write about it for your Capstone, which is a professional presentation. These two courses, the 798 goes over two semesters because it is a long process. And actually you get started very early on in your program in identifying a place for your field studies and making sure that it really is interesting to you and allows you to use the skills that you’ve learned during this course of study. And then your MPH Capstone – where you synthesize, you put your paper together (it’s a big paper by the way), this particular capstone course helps you organize and then present your data to get your paper together. So, both of those are the culminating experience by taking what you’ve learned and then uses it.

Now what can you do with a Master’s of Public Health? I like to say it is one of THE most useful degrees I have ever seen. Now just to let you know, my son actually got his MPH in Health Administration of Policy and he has a fabulous job where he uses his class skills every day in his career.

So, let’s go through some of them. Where do you find careers? So obviously you can look at the usual places; or wherever. But there are some specialty areas where you can look up public health jobs. There are two boards that really are national. One is the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health job board, as you can see the web address for that one. Then the American Public Health Association has started a CareerMart. And this is where prospective employers can put in their job descriptions for folks to come and see if it’s something their interested in. So let’s take a little closer look at what these job boards actually contain.

So, the jobs are distinguished by class. You can see here a whole list of different kinds of jobs in Behavioral Sciences, Biostatistics, Community Health, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, a whole multitude of Healthcare classes. Whether it’s in Administration or Management. Health Communications (a real critical need for many of our non-profits), Health Education, Health Policy, Think Tank, working for government, Health Promotion, Informatics, Information Systems (it’s really critical on how you deal with information systems and how you use them), Injury Control and Prevention, International Health, on and on and on through Public Health in a general career (which can be specific to Public Health Practice in a Health department or Public Health Nursing). So, that’s how they’re listed by class. Here’s what you might find.

Let’s looks at the industries that might put jobs on those job boards. We’re going to look at all four of these. We’re going to look at Academic Institutions and what kind of jobs they may post. We’re going to look at government jobs at all levels and what kinds of jobs they are looking for. People to be employed in their jobs. Nonprofits and Non-governmental organizations and then public and private for profit. Let’s take a peek.
So, where would academic institutions use folks with MPH degrees? Well, they may use for research and development managers, or research project managers. Or, like here at the University of Nevada, Reno, our MPH students are working as coordinators on large research projects. Those are really handy in being able to really organize well and lots of different aspects of a grant. So, definitely research areas in other academic institutions where they may need those MPH skills.

Then I’m going to tell you one of the major areas where we see jobs listed for MPH. for example, a Deputy Director of Child Health, an Epidemiologist, again in Public Health. These are just for state positions. Or a Health Care Economist which is really an interesting kind of position because we look more and more now at the effect of public health policy and how they save money over how much they cost. So, that Economist because very important.

For examples of federal government jobs, the CDC has a whole litany of different fellowships, information areas. For example, immunology laboratory opportunities at the CDC might be a lab director helping to organize and supervise a lab that would utilize management types of skills. There are fellowship programs where MPH students could come and get further information and really be exposed to different areas of public health as a research fellow or an informatics fellow. So those are very exciting. And obviously in Administration and Program Support. All sorts of positions there that require an MPH.

For the county level, and again we have lots of our MPH graduates who work in our county health departments, an Assistant Director for Public Health Nursing at a county health department or a Medical Program Administrator or a Public Health Planner. This is one in particular where public health program planning and public health administration are really critical skills to become a public health planner. And that would be a very fun position for anybody with an MPH degree.

And then, of course we have city level, particularly for larger cities where there could be director positions or epidemiologist positions. Here’s one, director of food safety data analytics. That would obviously use both your informatics and surveillance information. Then a health director, for some small cities in particular, MPH degrees are an excellent way to become a health director.

In the nonprofit group, and we do have many of our graduate go with nonprofit groups, they can be found as program coordinators. There is one here listed for the CDC or a Chief Programming Officer, or a program manager at Unity Health Care for example. Accreditation specialist, this is actually CEPH is the accrediting agency for public health and their accreditation specialist would be looking at the MPH degree as someone who really knows the program and would be able to help them when they go out to accredit because they would know the components of that masters of public health.

Of course, there are public and private for profit institutions for MPHs. For example, director of client engagement might be one. A project associate for a large global consulting company. Or, a variety of analysts for consulting companies both international and national that need folks with that degree to be able to do that work. So, it’s a really multifaceted environment where MPH degrees are valued in an employee.

At this point, I would like to turn this over to Tracy.

Tracy: Great! Thank you, Trudy so much. The information was really fascinating and I know that everybody got a lot out of it. At this point I’m going to turn this over to Marcus Staples. He’s one of the enrollment advisors. So, if you call or email he’s one of the people you can talk to to ask more questions about the program. He will go over the admission requirements and also, more importantly the deadlines for the upcoming fall term.

Marcus: Hi. My name is Marcus Staples and I’m the enrollment advisor here at the University of Nevada, Reno. The other enrollment advisor is Chelsea Sweeney. So, you will probably notice that we will be giving you guys’ calls as you request information. As far as the admissions requirements go: you would need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, you would need a cumulative 3.0 undergraduate GPA, or a 3.0 in your last 60 hours. You will need to have 3 years of professional experience in public health or a health related field. Students without experience or without a cumulative GPA between 2.75 and 3.0 may be considered with submission of standardized test scores such as the GRE, the GMAT or the MCAT.

There is a prerequisite course in statistics that is required. International students whom English is not their first language must submit a TOEFL score.

The application process is that you’ll go to the university website and you’ll complete and submit and application form. Then you’ll submit 3 letters of recommendation. You’ll wirte out a written statement of purpose which is a 500 word essay addressing the relevance of your professional experience to public health. Also, describing your career objectives and outlining your interest in graduate studies. Then the last document that you’ll submit would be a professional resume.

The important dates are going to be for the fall start. The application deadline is July 28 and classes start august 28. Again my name is Marcus Staples. I’m your enrollment advisor and if you have any additional questions you may give me a call or send me an email.

Tracy: Great! Thank you so much, Marcus. At this point we would like to open this up to a Q&A session. Again, the box is on your left side if you have any questions that you’d like to ask at this point go ahead and add that to the chat. We’ll give it a couple of minutes to give people a chance to ask their questions and then we’ll start to answer them.

Q: What is the cost of the program?
A: The cost is only $730 per credit hour. That doesn’t include university fees or books. The program is going to be for 45 semester credit hours. So, you’re looking at a total of about $33,000 in tuition for the two years.

Q: Is the program accredited?
A: Yes, it is accredited through CEPH. That is the Council on Education in Public Health. They oversee public health in the United States.

Q: What is the average duration of the program for a fulltime student?
A: 2 years. This program was created for students who are currently out in the workforce. So, the way that we have it structured is you’ll take a class, there will be a one week break and there will be a final class to complete the semester. It pretty much follows that track for the first 3 semesters then it escalate to 2 classes at a time and then finishes out the program. Your classes are about 7 weeks in length and the majority of your semesters are 15 weeks in length.

Q: What is the total cost of the program?
A: The total cost of the program with books and everything is about $37,000 for the 2 years.