William Mase, Dr.PH, MPH, MA Program Director and Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati, joins us today to discuss public health education.
#1 Can you tell us about the public health program at the University of Cincinnati?
From Albert Sabin’s transformational research resulting in the discovery of the polio vaccine to the foundational automobile emission lead hazard studies conducted by our faculty informing industry standards, UC serves as an international leader in public health research. Indeed, UC is one of the nation’s Top 25 public research universities. Our commitment to public health research, education and service is infused throughout the public health curriculum. Housed in one of the nation’s premier Departments of Environmental Health, the University of Cincinnati MPH program offers six concentrations including biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health education, health services management and occupational public health. Currently, there are 40 faculty members serving the MPH academic program 28 fully affiliated and 12 with secondary faculty appointments.
#2 How long does a typical public health master’s program take at the University of Cincinnati? What is the maximum and minimum time of completion for a MPH?
Full-time students complete the MPH program in 20 months. About one-third of our students are in-career professionals who typically add a third year of study while maintaining their full-time career commitments. UC also offers a one-year degree completion option. This option is typically selected by students preparing for medical school or terminal degree programs. Part-time students develop programs of study to fit their personal circumstances and needs and may extend study up to 5-years at a part-time pace.
#3 What do you think makes the University of Cincinnati public health program stand out from other programs in the country?
We have tremendous public health-related organizational agency affiliations, affording our students the opportunity to participate in practice-based learning. Formal affiliations include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Institutes of Occupational Safety and Health, Environmental Protection Agency, Proctor and Gamble, Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center Hospital and over 100 public health and associated health and human service agencies. With our status as an academic medical center within a prestigious urban institution of higher education, UC students have the opportunity to learn from today’s premier public health innovators, researchers and pioneers. We take pride in the fact that our program is not the largest in the nation as we feel that in order to provide excellence in education, we must commit to building relationships with each and every student. These student, faculty and community relationships are a central tenant of the UC MPH program. We value relationships that serve to transform our students, our faculty, our communities, and the health of the public.
#4 What are the advantages to earning a Master’s in Public Health degree?
As a practice-based degree, the MPH prepares graduates to immediately take positions of leadership within health and human service organizations where they can and do make a difference at the population level. Our graduates make a difference one community at a time. The UC program includes four distinct degree completion options including the thesis, a capstone, a grant proposal and an extended internship with portfolio. These four options have been developed to best serve the students we attract as they arrive with unique career goals. Matching the right culminating experience with the student’s unique needs is one way the UC MPH program seeks to best serve our students. I believe that the MPH is the perfect degree to advance awareness of evidence-based decision making which will be an essential competency for most professions in today’s world economy.
#5 Does the University of Cincinnati offer job placement for students who graduate in public health?
Yes. We are proud to report that currently 100% of our graduates who were actively seeking employment have been placed in careers. All students and graduates receive weekly communication from the office of the director with position announcements and continuing education opportunities. The student- and alumni-led Delta Omega chapter provides additional peer to peer career enhancement opportunities. The UC MPH program has close ties with regional, state and national health and human service agencies where our students secure employment.
#6 What type of financial aid packages are available for students in public health? Are there any fellowships, grants and scholarships available?
Many of our students receive financial aid support through research assistantships with departmental faculty. Additionally, many students receive tuition support through their employment. As a CEPH accredited program our students are eligible for federal fellowship and scholarship programs. UC students have been successful in receiving numerous fellowships, scholarships and grant awards over the past 5 years including three Fulbright-Fogarty Fellows, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation fellowships and the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati fellowship program.
#7 What advice do you have for students who are considering public health for their graduate study?
I tell all interested applicants that they need to visit the UC campus and get a feel for the institution, faculty, students and the community. I strongly encourage applicants to make time to visit a few public health practitioners to gain a better perspective of career opportunities. As you visit a campus where you are considering investing both your valuable time and financial resources, ask yourself, “Is this the place where I want to spend my time and money?” You should critically consider the culture and commitment of the institution and how invested that institution is in education. I encourage every interested applicant to speak with one or two enrolled students to gain the student perspective on our program. This is the same advice I would provide to students seeking admission to any program of higher education.
#8 What do you enjoy most about your position at the University of Cincinnati?
I enjoy the opportunity to learn from our students. We attract the best and the brightest from across the globe. Serving as MPH program director affords me the opportunity to work with applicants, students and graduates. They are truly part of our UC family. Every week presents a new and exciting opportunity to serve our students, graduates and communities. What I enjoy most is the opportunity to be a part to the transformational work going on here. That work extends to our local area communities, throughout the Tristate region, to people in other parts of the United States and globally.
For more information on the public health programs offered at the University of Cincinnati, visit them online. http://eh.uc.edu/publichealth/
Thank you Dr. William Mase, for sharing and participating in this piece.
That concludes our interview!