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NDSU Master of Public Health program passes milestone

Posted on 12/1/2016

The NDSU Master of Public Health was established to educate the next generation of the public health workforce. The program already has reached a milestone in doing so.

More than 100 students have matriculated into the five-year-old program. Thirty-five students have graduated from it.

The growth has exceeded initial expectations, said Dr. Donald Warne, chair of the Department of Public Health, associate professor of public health and Mary J. Berg Distinguished Professor of Women's Health.

Each cohort of students has brought a diversity in age and work experience. The common bond is a sense of altruism, Warne said.

"Generally speaking, each of our students wants to work toward promoting the greater good of public health and ensuring that, as part of a better society, promoting conditions that lead to having healthier lives," Warne said.

The program's graduates already are making an impact. Many are in the workforce while several are pursuing further education. One of the program's successful graduates is a tobacco prevention coordinator. Another is a health coordinator in Fargo.

"In addition to direct workforce impact, the foundations they received at NDSU have helped get them into doctoral programs," Warne said. "They'll have an impact for years to come. The ripple effects will be felt nationally."

The Master of Public Health program offers specializations in American Indian Public Health, Public Health in Clinical Systems, Health Promotion and Management of Infectious Diseases. The American Indian Public Health specialization is the first and only one of its kind in the country.

The program offers both on-campus and distance education options, which has reached students throughout the country. In October, the program received accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health for a full five-year term.

"We're looking forward to future growth and expanding our educational opportunities," Warne said. "We continue to grow, and our plans remain focused on developing the next generation of public health workers. Within that workforce we will see improvements in the quality of life both regionally and nationally."

Public health is defined as the practice of helping members of a society live healthier, longer lives through efforts to monitor the spread of diseases, clinical and policy initiatives to prevent disease and disability, and by promoting healthy lifestyles through education and community engagement.

As a student-focused, land-grant, research university, we serve our citizens.

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