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University News

Master of Public Health Degree Program


Updated: January 07, 2004

Note: For more information about the MPH program and it's division, visit the following websites:
Master of Public Health Program
Division of Kinesiology and Health Science

Cal State Fullerton soon will be the first and only Orange County institution to offer a master of public health degree. Students interested in earning the advanced degree can do so beginning next fall.

“Each semester, we have 125-150 students enrolled in our undergraduate health science program. Many of them would like to continue their studies and this new MPH program will allow them to do so,” said Kathy Koser, chair and associate professor of kinesiology and health promotion. “Because most of the classes will be offered during the evening hours, this program allows practicing professionals to return for this advanced degree.”

The MPH degree combines the study of biological, physical, psychological, economic and social forces that affect individuals and their health.

“This curriculum was developed to meet national accreditation standards set by the Council for Education for Public Health,” added Roberta Rikli, dean of the College of Human Development and Community Service.

“Our goal is to develop knowledgeable, skilled health professionals who are proficient in disseminating and applying knowledge that can help in disease control and management,” said Shari McMahan, associate professor of kinesiology and health promotion. “We also want to train students to promote healthful practices while being mindful of the cultural, economic and societal status of individuals and groups.”

The MPH program offers an interdisciplinary approach, offering classes from a wide field of studies, including nursing, biology, environmental studies, political science, health science, chemistry and management.

To better meet student and community needs, the program is divided into four specialty tracks: health promotion, environmental and occupational health, gerontological health and nursing leadership.

“This allows our students to focus on those areas that are of particular interest to them,” said McMahan. “When we were first developing the program, we conducted a needs assessment that highlighted these four areas. We also have faculty members with expertise in these fields.”

The health promotion track will prepare students to assess individual and community health needs, plan effective health education and health promotion programs, and manage and supervise health education programs in a variety of settings.

Graduates from the environmental and occupational health track will be able to recognize safety and health hazards in the workplace, serve as a safety/health professional within a management structure, and recommend protective equipment or practices to minimize illness and injury.

The gerontological health track prepares students to provide direct services to older adults; plan and manage health and social service programs; advocate for services, resources and health policies for older adults; and evaluate community programs for senior citizens.

Students from the nursing leadership track will utilize research and theory to direct and provide high-quality health care; analyze data collected to identify trends and formulate expected outcomes; advocate for healthcare programs and practices to benefit families, individuals and communities; and improve community-based healthcare delivery services.

The program’s designers estimate that it will take most students about 2 1/2 years to complete their studies. Graduates will most likely find positions in government agencies, hospitals and healthcare institutions, non-profit organizations and the private sector, said McMahan.

For more information about the MPH program and it's division, visit the following websites:
Master of Public Health Program
Division of Kinesiology and Health Science

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