NEIU’s new master’s program: public health

Luísa Soares, Writer

Students now have the possibility to join the new two to three year program of Master of Public Health (MPH) in the beginning of fall 2019 in Northeastern Illinois University’s El Centro campus. Through a broad range of current and future topics and issues in the area, the program offers the opportunity to pursue terminal degrees in behavioral health, epidemiological or environmental health sciences, as well as health-related law and policy, health care administration and health communication.

The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research, Michael Stern, helped to turn the program into a reality since its 2014 conception. He said the community health bachelor’s degree is growing quite rapidly because people are interested. “The field is getting bigger and there is a lot of potential careers and opportunities to explore,” Stern said.

In order to prepare students to lead, conduct research in and serve collaborative efforts dedicated to public health, the MPH of 42 credits will utilize a generalist and a interdisciplinary approach, via class and online learning.

Associate Professor and Community Health Program Coordinator, Jennifer Banas, said  the faculty will encourage who is studying to take electives in other programs. “If I am interested in Human Resources Development in Health, I might take my classes in that segment, tailoring my Master’s based on my interests and professional goals,” Banas said.

The MPH wants to prepare them to work in public and private careers, such as health researcher, community health worker, health communications specialist, public health analyst and public health policy administrator.

As stated by Health Sciences and Physical Education Department Chair, James Ball, he said this is possible because the faculty is prepared to teach them about those different aspects. “This will benefit students once there will be professors of all departments helping them. All of us have a bunch of experiences in different areas of the profession, so it’s going to be really positive,” Ball said.

The new program will focus on marginalized communities with specific and attention to the intersections people experience, including race, ethnicity, gender and age. Through this, students will explore research areas, apply for internships, collaborate in public health settings and improve their resumes. “Besides, if you want to make change for a population, you need to work with them, so that’s one of our main points of this MPH,” Banas said.

Applicants are required to have a minimum 3.0 GPA in a major related to biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, health services administration, behavioral sciences or social sciences. They will need to submit two letters of recommendation and an essay addressing what public health means to the them and which parts interest them and how a degree in MPH will support or advance their career goals.

If you are interested in the program or have any questions, please contact Health Sciences and Physical Education at (773) 442-556.