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Friday, April 05, 2013 - New master's of public health degree to debut this fall

Responding to strong student demand for graduate education opportunities, as well as equally strong employer demand for well educated and highly skilled public health professionals, the Oakland University School of Health Sciences is introducing a master of public health degree program to begin in the fall of 2013.

Official adoption of the program by the university's Board of Trustees took place on Wednesday, which falls in the heart of this year's National Public Health Week.

"The Master of Public Health Program will improve the health of individuals and communities by strengthening the foundational skills, core capacities, diversity, preparation and responsiveness of public health professionals," said Ken Hightower, dean of the School of Health Sciences.

"It will accomplish this under the guidance of highly accomplished scholars. We have an abundance of expertise in our program director, Dr. Patricia Wren, and her faculty members."

Graduate study and engagement in the program will focus on exemplary instruction, relevant and meaningful research, and community-based, participatory public health service – all while preparing students to help create and enhance collaborations designed to protect and promote the health of human populations.

As a part of the educational process, faculty and students will enlist community partners in promoting public health needs assessments; program planning, implementation and evaluation; distribution of health policy formation; and health literacy campaigns.

This will help to elevate overall public health by improving delivery of health promotion interventions and working to eliminate critical health disparities in key areas throughout the region. Collaborative projects will also better position Oakland University to compete for health-related grant funding.

Meanwhile, the master of public health's service-learning component will contribute to the area's expanding health care industry, which is among the most strategically promising economic sectors in southeastern Michigan.

All of these advantages have attracted a great deal of attention to the new program.

"We have received considerable interest – from current students across a range of majors to working health professionals and mid-career workers seeking job training," said Patricia Wren, Ph.D, MHP. "I am confident that today we have created an exciting new academic home for all of these individuals."

Upon completion of the 44-credit program, which can be accomplished in as little as two years, graduating students will find opportunities to extend their work in a host of settings including international health organizations, federal government agencies, state and local health departments, voluntary and philanthropic organizations, corporations and worksite wellness sites, local hospitals and non-profit organizations.

To learn more about enrolling in graduate programs at the School of Health Sciences, visit oakland.edu/shs.

Oakland University is a vibrant academic community with nearly 20,000 students and more than 260 degree and certificate programs. To learn more about academics, achievements, and events at OU, visit the news site at oakland.edu/newsatou and follow the news team on Twitter at @OaklandU_News.  

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