Welcome to Academic Departments

The school of Public Health has four departments. The MS and PhD degrees are housed within a single department. The MPH and DrPH are both interdisciplinary, but within the degree, students each choose a concentration.

Biomedical Sciences:

The Biomedical Sciences department focuses on understanding the biomedical basis of public health, including the molecular basis of disease and implications for public health interventions. Students acquire a foundation of knowledge in the core areas of biomedical sciences, and understand the fundamental role of the biomedical sciences in public health, in particular, in the detection, treatment and prevention of genetic, infectious, and other human diseases. They learn about the strengths and limitations of various laboratory methodologies and their application to public health problems.

Environmental Health Sciences:

The Environmental Health Sciences department prepares students for rewarding professional careers in academia, governmental health agencies, research institutions, and industry.  Students have the opportunity to take part in basic and applied research programs that utilize current techniques in the biological, physical, and medical sciences to address environmental problems that impact public health.  Areas of research training and focus include environmental and analytical chemistry, toxicology, environmental and occupational health, and environmental epidemiology.  Students acquire skills in collecting and analyzing environmental chemical and microbiological data, investigate cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the toxic and carcinogenic effects of environmental contaminants, apply epidemiologic methods to environmental exposures in the human population, and learn the techniques for assessing human health risk from environmental causes. 

Epidemiology and Biostatistics:

The department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics comprises two concentrations.

The Epidemiology portion of the department prepares students to understand the distribution and risk factors for public health problems in the community. Students become familiar with the range of epidemiologic practice, including surveillance, etiologic investigation, and the evaluation of preventive interventions. They learn to define, compute and interpret fundamental epidemiologic measures, explain the principles and the strengths and weaknesses of epidemiologic study designs, know how to apply the fundamental techniques for selection of study populations, have experience with techniques for collecting data and evaluating quality of data, demonstrate basic skills for managing computer-based data, and demonstrate the ability to interpret and present the results of epidemiological research.

The Biostatistics half of the department prepares students to serve as biostatistics researchers and as vital collaborators in public health projects, providing expertise on the use of statistics in analysis of public health data. Students acquire a foundation of knowledge in the core areas of statistical science, develop skills in defining a problem and determining the variables that are relevant to solving a public health problem, understand the appropriate use of data, the integrity of data sets, and how data can be used in analyzing public health issues.

Health Policy, Management, and Behavior:

The Health Policy, Management, and Behavior department comprises two areas of study: Health Policy & Management and Social Behavior & Community Health.

The Health Policy & Management side of the department prepares students to manage public health and healthcare programs. They learn to articulate alternative models of management/organizational functioning, how these might bear on defining and resolving problems, and understand the uses of organizational research methods in existing organizations. Graduates are able to utilize communication as a tool for developing participation and motivation among organizational members, as well as performing such core leadership tasks as directing, mentoring, facilitating and brokering. They are able to state options for change, provide theoretical rationale and identify barriers to change, and develop mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating programs for their effectiveness and quality.

The Social Behavior & Community Health side of the department focuses on understanding the influence of individual, group and cultural factors on the health of populations as well as on the ways in which these factors influence the development and organization of public health programs and service delivery in communities. Students learn to distinguish the relative effectiveness of different public health interventions, utilizing appropriate principles and methods from social and behavioral sciences that address behavior of individuals, groups and communities. They learn how to design a strategy for developing and/or improving a community-based public health program to reduce the prevalence of a particular risk behavior. They learn to develop a data management plan for assessing the need for a program, relate the relevance of evaluation or research findings for implementing a program, and develop mechanisms to monitor and evaluate community intervention programs for their effectiveness and quality.