Dr. Bill Freeman, Director & Chair of the Master of Public Health -The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Dr. Bill Freeman, Program Director & Chair of the Master of Public Health program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology joins us today to discuss public health education.

#1 Can you tell us about the M.P.H Programs Offered Online and Onground at The Chicago School?

Built upon The Chicago School’s 36-year history of practitioner-focused learning, our Master of Public Health (MPH) is designed for working adults passionate about making a dramatic impact on the health and wellness of others, particularly those representing marginalized and underserved populations.

Our 21st Century curriculum embraces the evolving U.S. healthcare landscape, which has seen dramatic change following the implementation of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while developing a global mindset to respond to the challenges of a highly interconnected world.

The entire focus of the program is career-facing, preparing graduates to thrive in a dramatically changing public health and healthcare marketplace.

Our rigorous curriculum integrates theory, scientific research, professional practice and innovation – all framed by career-focused community engagement, offering the knowledge and skills drawn from a variety of disciplines.

The M.P.H. is a 42-credit program consisting of 27 credits of core courses; four practical concentrations; engaged fieldwork; and a practical capstone project.
Our commitment is to graduate true agents of change. Through coursework, concentrations and field experiences, students are empowered with the competencies required to meaningfully contribute to local public health needs while remaining focused on our ever-present responsibility as global citizens.

Substantial public health challenges at the national and global level await our students as they prepare to bring both head and heart to a world in deep need.  With our MPH program, they will be equal to these challenges as The Chicago School partners with them for every step of their academic journey.

#2 How long does a typical M.P.H. Program take at The Chicago School? What is the maximum and minimum time of completion?

Whether online or onground, our M.P.H. Program has been designed for the working adult.  The average time to completion for our online program is 27 months with students taking one, eight-week course consecutively.  The average time to completion for the on-ground program is about 27 months with students taking two 15-week courses simultaneously during the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms.

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There is no minimum time to completion; ambitious students, working with their advisor, can complete their program sooner than 27 months.  Maximum time to graduation is 5 years.

#3 What do you think makes The Chicago School’s M.P.H. stand out from other online and on ground MPH programs?

Based on our long-standing experience of training outstanding health practitioners, our M.P.H. Program s designed to prepare engaged public health and healthcare professionals with both the head and heart to respond to the needs of a dramatically changing healthcare environment.

From our core courses and engaged concentrations, to our domestic and international fieldwork culminating in an applied research project, our M.P.H. is a promise to graduate community-based change agents with the skills and experience required to succeed in the dynamic multicultural, stakeholder-diverse health marketplace.

International Practicum: As part of our steadfast commitment to prepare globally responsible and locally responsive leaders, all students participate in a 10-day international field experience examining the unique and common health challenges faced by a diverse, yet connected world.

Career Concentrations: Following the completion of core courses, students select one of four concentrations geared toward in-demand public health and health-related employment: Mental & Behavioral Aspects of Public Health; Public Policy Development & Advocacy; Health Informatics: and Senior Services Administration.  A number of our concentrations involve 4-day residence intensives with practitioner thought leaders.

Each concentration includes three courses, followed by a 15-week related field experience, all of which culminates in the development of a practical applied research project based on each student’s area of interest.

#4 How important would you say accreditation is when choosing an online or on-ground M.P.H. Program?

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).   The last review in 2011 resulted in an accreditation term of five years (2016).

Our M.P.H. Program has been designed based on the highest national standards of the Association of School and Programs of Public Health and the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

#5 How does The Chicago School ensure that the quality of its M.P.H. Program, whether delivered online or onground, meets the needs of a dramatically changing public health and healthcare marketplace?

We are not the traditional M.P.H. Program.  Our program has been completely redesigned to respond to the realities of a dramatically changing public health and healthcare marketplace.  Based on these new realities, our program is career-facing, competency-focused and concentration-rich.

We have developed an integrated, high-quality program, whether delivered online or on ground.

#6 What are the advantages to earning a M.P.H. degree in general?

The M.P.H. is the doorway into the exploding public health and healthcare job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, the nation is projected to add 250,000 public health jobs and grow by 37% over the next five years. Our graduates are prepared to deliver outstanding professional services, excel as community leaders with the skill-sets to respectfully engage as collaborative partners in multi-cultural and stakeholder-diverse local and international settings.

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Our graduates will be fully prepared to pursue careers in a range of public and private settings including: Government agencies—local, state or federal health departments; healthcare provider organizations (hospitals, clinics, ambulatory-care centers); health insurance companies; pharmaceutical companies; corporate wellness centers; community-based organizations; advocacy organizations and many others.

The M.P.H. is a “degree with legs” and our program is uniquely designed to prepared gradates with the skills and experiences they need to thrive in the public health and healthcare world of today and tomorrow.

#7 Does The Chicago School offer job placement for students who graduate in public health?

Yes, but we also do much, much more.  For us, job placement isn’t a near-to-graduation afterthought.

Our entire program is career focused, ideal for the currently employed health or healthcare worker needing a graduate degree for career advancement or those not currently employed in the health marketplace and looking for a degree with the flexibility to enter the public or private sector job market.

From your first course through the completion of your program, our focus is on employment.  All of our faculty are healthcare practitioners both global and domestic experience who bring that real-world perspective essential to job success.

We have relationships with hundreds of domestic and international public and private public health and service providers including established relationships with 22 countries.  Our domestic and international field placements and practicum are second-to-none offering students the rounded education experience and skills demanded by an evolving workplace.

With laser focus, we work with students to prepare for and secure the job that best aligns to their passion, skills and interests as committed agents of change.

#8 What type of financial aid packages are available for students in public health? Are there any fellowships, grants and scholarships available?

The Chicago School offers need -and merit-based scholarships. Details are available on our Admissions website.  We also offer a professional tuition rate for those employed in mental or behavioral health professions, which is valued at approximately 10% off our standard tuition costs. A special tuition rate is also available for individuals who work in law enforcement. Additionally, students who qualify for veteran benefits may use them at The Chicago School, and we offer a limited number of Yellow Ribbon scholarship awards. Lastly, we have limited scholarship offerings for international students. For more information, individuals can call (800) 721-8072.

#9 Do you have any advice for students enrolling in an M.P.H. Program, whether online or on ground?

Ask yourself, “What is my passion?  What brings meaning and purpose to my life?  Where do I want to take a stand?”  And based on my passion, which program will best allow me to ensure that it’s realized?

For those with an interest in research and science, there are great programs at other schools.  We aren’t that program.

But for those passionate about becoming true agents of change, working mindfully in a post-Affordable Care Act world in communities to make lives better, our program is the perfect match.

Our passion – reflected in our rich history of training engaged practitioners – is preparing individuals committed to work collaboratively and respectfully with diverse communities with both a local and a global lens to improve the health and well-being of others.

#10 Why would I want to get an M.P.H. from a psychology school?

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology was part of an activist movement in the 1970s to improve the training of psychologists with a goal to produce highly effective, community-focused, multi-cultural healers.  Thirty-six years later, we are recognized as a leader in training mental health professionals across the U.S. and internationally.

Over the past five years, our mission has expanded to preparing effective leaders in health and wellness.  It’s a natural progression.

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Our M.P.H. Program stands on the shoulders of our rich heritage with a solid commitment to prepare public heath and healthcare leaders to work as effective community change agents amide a dramatically changing health care environment.  We are the M.P.H. for the 21st Century.

For more information on the M.P.H. Program offered at The Chicago School, visit www.TheChicagoSchool.edu/MPH.

Thank you Dr. Freeman for sharing and participating in this piece.

That concludes our interview!

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