The graduate Certificate in Health Disparities is the product of a collaboration within the Education Core of the NIH Export Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities (CEMHD; http://www.albany.edu/cemhd/) at the University at Albany, State University of New York. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Institute of Medicine, there are striking differences in the burden of risk factors, such as illness and death as well as the lack of health care access experienced by various racial/ethnic groups including African Americans, Latino(a)s and Native Americans. Many other groups including the poor, people with disabilities, women, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) population also experience disparities in lack of access to care and the burden of disease and death. Health disparities are on the national agenda as a major social issue. The Education Core developed this Health Disparities Certificate in direct recognition of this key social issue and the need for current and future leaders in the social services fields (public health, social work, psychology, and medicine) to be knowledgeable of the issues and strategies needed to address health disparities.
The goal of this program is to train graduate students or professionals in the field to be leaders in addressing and eliminating health disparities. As stated by the Institute of Medicine and NIH, central to addressing health disparities is conducting research and practice at the community level and working with community partners to build community capacity and sustainability. The interdisciplinary certificate aims to provide an in-depth knowledge of the causes and issues in health disparities, provide strategies for eliminating disparities while improving students’ multicultural competence and leadership skills.
The Health Disparities Certificate will be offered to individuals working towards or currently in leadership positions in health services, policy, promotion, or provision. This program will provide an opportunity for preparedness and enhancement of the capacity to address and influence health disparities in students’ individual communities and service organizations.
The Certificate program will be available to all currently matriculated University at Albany graduate students (master’s or PhD students). Current students must make a separate application for admission. Graduate students who are currently enrolled in other accredited colleges or universities or non-matriculated individuals who are practitioners in health care, counseling, social work, and public health may also apply to the Certificate program, provided they have a bachelor’s or R.N. degree and the required pre-requisite coursework. In order to receive the Health Disparities Certificate, students must take four 3-credit graduate courses, for a total of 12 credits, in at least two different Schools. All courses in the Certificate program already exist within the Schools of Public Health, Social Welfare, and Education.