Senate Bill No.: 0304-07
UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK
Introduced by: Graduate Academic Council and Educational Policy Council
Date: October 20, 2003
PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH A GRADUATE CERTIFICATE PROGRAM IN
PUBLIC HEALTH - FUNDAMENTALS AND PRINCIPLES
IT IS HEREBY PROPOSED THAT THE FOLLOWING BE ADOPTED:
1. That the University Senate approves the attached "Proposal for a Certificate in Public Health - Fundamentals and Principles" as approved and recommended by the Graduate Academic Council and the Educational Policy Council.
2. That this proposal be forwarded to the President for approval.
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT ALBANY
SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
CERTIFICATE IN PUBLIC HEALTH - FUNDAMENTALS AND PRINCIPLES
PROPOSED STARTING DATE: SPRING 2004
I. INTRODUCTION AND RATIONALE
The School of Public Health at the State University of New York at Albany is proposing the introduction of a Certificate in Public Health-Fundamentals and Principles (CPH-FP). The proposed Certificate has been designed to attract local, regional and national public health workers interested in obtaining formal training in public health. A major advantage of the Certificate will be the availability of required courses through distance education as well as the traditional in-class modality. The School believes that providing such flexibility will increase the Certificate's appeal to working professionals. The Certificate builds upon one of the School's goals (to provide professional public health education), its unique relationship with the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and local health departments, and the emerging need for creative public health education modalities.
Commitment to Professional Development
Since being founded in 1984, the School of Public Health at the University at Albany has been committed to develop and enhance the skills and knowledge of public health professionals, as well as others interested in the field of public health. The commitment has been translated by the School's continuous effort to create an academic setting that builds upon "real-world" experience and knowledge. This effort is reflected by the diverse background of the faculty and the School's partnerships with various state and private agencies that provide "natural labs" for students. The expertise and research interests of the School's more than 200 doctoral-level faculty cover a wide span of significant public health issues including AIDS, minority health, injury control, environmental and occupational health sciences, cancer prevention, and the politics and economics attendant on the fast-changing health care field.
The School of Public Health currently offers a Master in Public Health
(MPH), which is considered a terminal degree for the front-line public
health worker. Students enrolled in the MPH program are expected to
choose one of six areas of concentration that include: behavioral science/community
health, biomedical sciences, biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology,
or health administration. Students develop an area of concentration through
taking several courses in that specific area in addition to the six required
core courses. Other degrees offered by the School include the DrPH that
is offered through the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs, as well as
MS and PhD programs offered through individual departments (the PhD degree
in Health Policy, Management and Behavior is in its final development
As a recognition of that commitment to professional development, The School was designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a Center for Public Health Preparedness in September 2000. The mission of the Center is "to improve the capacity of the public health workforce in New York and Vermont to respond to current and emerging public health threats, with a focus on bioterrorism and infectious disease outbreaks." In addition, the School has been a designated partner in the New York/New Jersey Public Health Training Project.
Partnership with State and Local Health Agencies
The School of Public Health has a unique partnership with the NYS Department of Health (DOH) and Albany Medical College, as well as strong relationships with local health departments in New York and through the Northeast region. Throughout the years, these partnerships have strengthened the School's educational mission through providing "natural labs" for students to test and implement the theoretical concepts learned in classes, as well as exposure to relevant research and practice experience.
An equally important benefit realized as a result of these partnerships is the access to highly qualified professionals who serve as faculty members in the various School departments. An agreement signed with the Department of Health allows for the appointment of DOH employees as State University of New York at Albany (University) faculty with unqualified titles. Currently, DOH appointees constitute more than 70% of the School's faculty and comprise the overwhelming majority in the Departments of Biomedical Sciences and Environmental Health and Toxicology (84 of 88 faculty members). Similarly, Memoranda of Understanding signed between the University and two prestigious local health institutions, Albany Medical College and Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, allow for unqualified joint appointments at the School. Currently, a total of four unqualified faculty appointments at the Departments of Epidemiology and Biometry and Statistics are held by individuals whose primary appointments are in the above mentioned institutions.
Certificate Programs and Distance Education
The School's interest in pursuing the initiation of a Certificate in Public Health is grounded in the field's need for such a program to develop the skills and knowledge of the workforce. In one of the most recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports titled "Who Will Keep the Public Healthy: Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century", the authors acknowledge the central role schools of public health should play in the preparation of public health professionals. This role gains great importance given the significant proportion of public health workers who have no formal education in public health. The IOM report cites several studies conducted in various regions of the country that showed the need of the public health workforce for formal training . One of those studies, conducted by the CDC, estimated that "80 percent of public health workers lack basic training in public health." (CDC, 2001a) . The IOM report especially acknowledges the importance of public health certificates and distance education among other alternative methods in fulfilling that educational need for the public health workforce (see attached).
In response to the public health workforce's obvious need for formal education, many well-recognized schools of public health across the nation are starting to offer certificate programs. The list includes John Hopkins University, Emory University, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina among others. Another trend in public health education, as is the case with other disciplines, is the use of distance learning, especially web-based learning. In recognition of logistic access problems that hinder many working professionals from seeking formal education, an increasing number of courses are being offered via distance learning. This modality of delivery is becoming more popular with professionals who have to commute for a long distance to attend in-class courses and/or have time restrictions that would prevent them from attending classes. Web-based learning provides an opportunity for this pool of potential students to take courses and pursue degrees without the time and distance restrictions.
Potential Local and Regional Demand for the Public Health Certificate
The administration and faculty of the School of Public Health at SUNY-Albany believe that offering a public health certificate, with courses being delivered in-class and online, will be attractive to a significant number of public health professionals. Two very encouraging indicators of the potential demand are inquiries directed to faculty members by public health workers asking whether and when a certificate program will be offered, and the success of existing distance learning courses in recruiting students to the School's programs. Also, the strong support expressed by the New York State Department of Health, local health departments and health care providers for the initiation of the Certificate is indicative of their perceived need for such a program (APPENDIX B).
It is worth noting that the only other accredited school of public health in New York State, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, is in the process of initiating a certificate program in fall 2004. However, the certificate program offered by
1.IOM. 2003. Who Will Keep the Public Healthy?
Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century. Washington,
DC: National Academy Press
To be considered for admission into the Certificate in Public Health,
applicants must submit the following:
*All graduate applications at the University are processed through the Graduate Studies Admissions Office. For additional information on specific programs of study, you can contact the SPH directly.
II. PLAN OF STUDY
The program requires the completion of 18 graduate course credits. These
consist of 6 Master of Public Health (MPH) core courses. All of the CPH-FP
courses will be offered in-class (SUNY-East Campus) and online through
the SUNY Learning Network (SLN). The courses include:
Students who have completed the CPH-FP and wish to apply these courses to a degree at the School must:
V. CURRICULUM (6 courses; 18 credits)
All of the Certificate's six required courses are identified by the Master of Public Health (MPH) program at the School of Public Health. Students who earn the Certificate and are admitted to pursue a MPH can have these courses applied to the MPH course requirements.
EPI 501 Principles and Methods of Epidemiology I (3 CREDITS)
The Certificate is designed to primarily attract public health professionals. As mentioned above, a significant proportion of that population lacks formal public health training. The availability of a Certificate will provide them the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skill base. Also, being able to complete the Certificate via distance learning will be of great value to working professionals whose interest in continuing education can be hindered by logistic barriers, such as time and distance.
The School anticipates that the primary audience will be local and regional public health professionals. This is based on the strong relationship between the School and various governmental and private agencies throughout the State and region that have expressed support for the Certificate. Also, the two School-based regional public health training centers, CEC and NEPHLI, will play an important role in communicating the existence of the Certificate program to their constituents.
It is expected that the first few years of offering the Certificate will witness a moderate level of student enrollment (5-10 students). However, the School foresees an increase in enrollment (10-15 students) as more public health agencies and professionals are aware of the existence of the Certificate program. Based on the School's current resources, the maximum number of students allowed into the Certificate in any year should not exceed twenty students.
VII. FACULTY PROFILES (see faculty vitae in APPENDIX A)
Required courses for the completion of the Certificate will be taught
by a number of faculty members. These courses are offered at the School
and as mentioned above are core courses for the MPH and other School degrees.
Erin Bell, PhD: Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health. She received her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Bell's research interests include examining the association of occupational and environmental exposures with cancer and adverse reproductive outcomes, such as birth defects. Dr. Bell's courses include EPI 501 (principles and methods of epidemiology), EPI 604 (cancer epidemiology), EPI 613 (occupational and environmental epidemiology) and EPI 697 (advanced methods in occupational and environmental epidemiology).
David Carpenter, MD: Professor of Environmental Health and Toxicology in the School of Public Health at SUNY-Albany, and Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the UA. Dr. Carpenter also has appointments as Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences (SPH), and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences (SPH) and is a member of the faculty in the UA interdisciplinary program in public policy. His teaching responsibilities include EHT 590 (introduction to environmental health), and participate in EHT 540 (principles of radiation sciences) plus several neurosciences courses in BMS and at Albany Medical Center.
Louise Farrell, MS: Course instructor in the Department of Epidemiology
at the School of Public Health and the Project Manager for the New York
State Trauma Project. Research interests include outcomes assessment and
trauma care. Ms. Farrell's course responsibilities include teaching the
in-class version HSTA 552 every fall and every other spring.
Lenore Gensburg, MS: Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and the Department of Biometry. In addition, Ms. Gensburg is the Chief of the Special Studies, Statistical and Support Section of the Bureau of Epidemiologic and Occupational Studies (CEH) of the New York State Department of Health. Two major studies she is working on at present are the Love Canal Follow-up Health Study and the epidemiological portions of a study examining how occupational PCB exposure may have altered dopamine mediated functions in aging General Electric workers. Ms. Gensburg teaches the in-class STA 552 (principles of statistical inference I) and has occasionally taught STAT553 (principles of statistical inference II).
Mary Gallant, PhD MPH: Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy, Management, and Behavior at the School of Public Health, Head of the Behavioral Health track and Faculty Associate in the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis. Dr. Gallant is a co-investigator of the School of Public Health's Prevention Research Center and a member of the Advisory Work Group for the Arthritis Program of the New York State Department of Health. Her research focus is on the psychosocial aspects of self-care behaviors and chronic illness management behaviors among older adults. Dr. Gallant teaching responsibilities include HPM 525 (social and behavioral aspects of public health), HPM 520 (fundamentals of research design), HPM 627 (public health education), and HPM 626 (social and behavioral aspects of chronic illness).
Louise-Ann McNutt, PhD: Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health. Her research interests include infectious disease epidemiology, violence epidemiology, and the use quantitative methods. Dr. McNutt's co-teaches EPI 501 (with Erin Bell).
Shadi Saleh, PhD MPH: Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy, Management, and Behavior at the School of Public Health. Dr. Saleh holds a MPH degree with a concentration in health services administration. He earned his doctorate in health policy and management from the University of Iowa. His research interests include the effect of managed care on healthcare organization, delivery and financing, as well as evaluating substance abuse/HIV prevention and treatment interventions. Dr. Saleh's teaching responsibilities include the online HPM 500 (healthcare delivery, organization and financing) and HPM 550 (financial management of healthcare institutions).
Benjamin Shaw, PhD MPH: Assistant Professor in the Department
of Health Policy, Management, and Behavior at the School of Public Health,
University at Albany and Faculty Associate in the Center for Social and
Demographic Analysis, University at
Gene Therriault, MSPH: Assistant Professor in the Department of
Biometry and Statistics at the School of Public Health. Mr. Therriault
was employed by the New York State Department of Health for approximately
33 years, retiring in February 2000. He worked in the Office of Biostatistics
and the Information Systems and Health Statistics Group. For the last
13 years of his employment with the Health Department, Mr. Therriault
served as Director of the Bureau of Biometrics, managing a staff of biostatisticians,
research scientists, systems analysts and demographers. The Bureau was
responsible for conducting public health research, developing and publishing
vital statistics and hospital discharge data reports and answering requests
for data. He has published and presented on a variety of topics, including
hysterectomy, cesarean childbirth, privacy and confidentiality of health
records, AIDS, cancer mortality and occupational mortality. Mr. Therriault
has also served as Executive Secretary of the Data Protection Review Board,
which is responsible for the review and approval of applications for access
to sensitive hospital discharge data and was the Records Access Officer
for the Health Department. Additionally, he was an Advisor to the National
Death Index at the National Center for Health Statistics. His teaching
responsibilities include the online STA 552 (principles of statistical
Wendy Weller, PhD: Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy, Management, and Behavior at the School of Public Health. Dr. Weller's research interests include health policy in chronic care; health care financing and access for persons with chronic conditions, particularly children; and risk adjustment. Previously, Dr. Weller held research and policy analysis positions at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where she worked on developing appropriate payment and delivery systems for persons with chronic health conditions; policies to expand insurance coverage; and the financing of academic medical centers. She has published in health services research, health policy, and clinical journals. Dr. Weller holds a doctoral degree in health services research from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she also received a masters in health policy. Dr. Weller is the instructor for the in-class HPM 500 (healthcare delivery, organization and financing), as well as teaches HPM501 (health policy analysis and management) and HPM612 (application in health policy analysis and evaluation).
Carol Whittaker, MA, MPA: Assistant Dean for Public Health Practice
at the School of Public Health. Ms. Whittaker's responsibilities include
student practice coordination and all related management activities, and
coordination of the Muskie and Mongolian
Michael Zdeb, MS: Prior to retiring in March 2003, Mr. Zdeb worked for 30+ years at the New York State Department of Health. Most of that time was spent in the Bureau of Biometrics where he conducted research studies on various aspects of health status using data sources such as the vital statistics reporting system, cancer registry, and hospital discharge data abstracts. He also engaged in collaborative, health related research studies with groups such as the National Foundation March of Dimes, the Capital Region Perinatal Center, and the Robert Wood Johnson Information for State Health Policy Project. Mr. Zdeb served as a member of the joint NYS Health Department/American College Obstetrics & Gynecologists task force whose role was to improve reproductive health care given to women in New York State. He also acted as consultant and educator on the use and integration of mainframe and PC computer resources for the health department's community of data analysts and researchers. This included the conducting of informal seminars on computer use, the teaching of computer-related courses, the writing of user-oriented documentation, day-to-day consulting, etc. Since 1993, Mr. Zdeb has also been an Assistant Professor at the School of Public Health. He teaches courses on the organization and management of data using SAS software, and on Geographic Information Systems and Public Health. Mr. Zdeb also lectures in various classes at the School on the use of 3rd-party data sources (vital records and hospital discharge data) in health-related research.
VIII. RESOURCES AND SUPPORT