MU to offer new undergraduate public health program

Director Michelle Teti: “Our students were asking for it.”

MU will offer a new undergraduate Bachelor of Public Health program starting in fall 2017. The university currently has a Master of Public Health program, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year.

The new program, which was approved in February, will feature various fields of study in health and social justice.

“Our students were asking for it,” program director Michelle Teti said. “The public health workforce is growing and needing more people. There’s lots of work to be done.”

Students in the master’s program typically receive a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, a broad field. The four main divisions of the public health field are epidemiology, health policy, environmental health and health behavior and education, Teti said. The undergraduate program will be more specialized.

Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery, who writes about the interaction between law enforcement agencies and communities, visited MU on April 4 in honor of the launch of the new program and the 10-year anniversary of the master’s public health program.

“Public health is now more important than ever,” Lowery said to begin his speech.

A committee of faculty members composed of Teti, Lise Saffran, Deborah Gerhart, Deborah Hume, Mark Kuhnert and Rosemary Hogan proposed the undergraduate program.

Teti, who received a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, a master’s in public health and a doctorate in community health and prevention said that one of the greatest benefits of a degree in public health is the versatility it provides.

“I worked as an educator in a domestic violence shelter, a court advocate in a sexual assault center,” Teti said. “I’ve worked in HIV and LGBT health centers creating education materials and interventions to prevent HIV. I’ve developed public health websites. I’ve developed health programs for women with HIV. I’ve worked with international agencies to create HIV prevention policies. I’ve evaluated health programs for a Latino health center. And now I work in research and public health education.”

Students with a public health degree can get a variety of jobs after graduation, Teti said. She mentioned jobs in illness and disease tracking, health education, health policy, research and bioterrorism.

“Public health problems are so complex and involve people in medicine, nursing, sociology and environmental health and that is a great way to solve problems,” Teti said.

Edited by Kyle LaHucik |

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