School of Public Health Graduates Work to Solve Societal Challenges

Published on July 17, 2014 by Katie Stripling  

Students in the School of Public Health pursue a variety of disciplines focused on the prevention of disease and the promotion of improved health among entire communities and populations. Majors within the School of Public Health are inherently interdisciplinary, with teams of professionals working together to solve some of society’s most complex challenges. The School includes the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, and undergraduate and graduate degree programs are being developed.

The school currently offers baccalaureate degrees in nutrition and dietetics, and anticipates starting a post-baccalaureate dietetic internship in early 2015. Upon completion of the internship, students will be eligible to take the national examination to become registered dietitians. Interns will be prepared with the skills necessary to function as entry­level dietitians and to compete effectively in the rapidly changing job market.

Classes in the Master of Social Work program are expected to begin in fall 2015. According to department chair Ken Stoltzfus, the master of social work degree is an attractive option for many students because it offers a specific theoretical and practical foundation for providing services for members of at­risk populations, but it is broad enough that it keeps students’ career options open.

“We are still in the initial stages of planning the program,” said Dr. Stoltzfus, “but we hope to have at least two concentrations in order to allow students to focus their training on a specific area of interest. We also plan to have a wide variety of field placement options for students, including some international options.”

With an abundance of job opportunities focused on improving the lives of others, the Master of Public Health [MPH] program, launching in spring 2015, will be an attractive option for students with diverse academic back­ grounds. Public health professionals have varied educational experiences, some possessing degrees in business, liberal arts, education or other health­related professions.

It is expected that numerous schools within the university will partner with the MPH program to offer joint degrees; discussions are already underway with the law, nursing and pharmacy schools. Following the launch of the MPH program, there are plans underway to develop a degree program at the undergraduate level.