While the world has been focused on COVID-19 as a health crisis, individual communities may have other specific health concerns that need attention. Population health, which integrates healthcare and public health practices, is an emerging healthcare field that allows professionals to identify a locally pressing health issue, intervene and transform the community’s health outcomes.
Housed in West Virginia University’s School of Public Health, the new Master of Science in Population Health program—one of only seven of its kind being offered by a CEPH-accredited school —is designed to prepare graduates for occupations in this field, which are projected to grow by nearly 20% across the country over the next 10 years, placing this emerging field of study in high student demand.
“The landscape of health and healthcare is rapidly evolving and, as a result, public health training needs have significantly grown,” said Dr. Jeffrey Coben, dean of the School of Public Health and associate vice president for Health Affairs. “This program provides another path for the WVU Health Sciences to fulfill its commitment to enhancing the wellness of all West Virginians. In particular, it opens up unique opportunities for West Virginia’s workforce, including those currently in the public health sector who want to expand their skills, as well as those healthcare professionals involved with direct patient care who are seeking a co-training experience.”
Dr. Lee Smith, executive director of the Monongalia County Health Department, welcomes the opportunities the program will make available to his team and beyond.
“For many years, Monongalia County Health Department has enjoyed an essential partnership with the WVU School of Public Health, as highlighted by our distinctive Academic Health Department recognition,” Smith said. “A critical next step in our partnership is expanding educational offerings available to local public health workers, giving them greater access to professional certificates and degrees that will enhance their skills and empower them to make greater changes in our community. This program opens up important doors for not only our team, but for the larger public health workforce.”
WVU’s M.S. in Population Health is well-positioned to meet the growing needs of the labor market. Additionally, Erik Carlton, associate dean for professional programs, says the program’s flexibility and streamlined approach distinguish it even further.
“As a fully online, 30-credit hour program that gives students the option to complete in one or two years, our master’s in population health is uniquely designed to meet the needs of a wide range of professionals,” Carlton said.
Application deadline for the fall 2021 semester is Aug.15. Email SPHGradPrograms@hsc.wvu.edu to initiate the application process.