Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
The mission of the University at Albany’s DrPH degree program is to prepare students for leadership roles in public health practice in governmental agencies, community-based organizations and other settings. Students acquire analytic, conceptual, and administrative skills while gaining a thorough understanding of the scientific, political, social, cultural, ethical and economic contexts within which public health problems occur and are addressed. The ultimate goal of the program is mastery of evidence-based decision-making and capacity to translate empirical knowledge into effective public health practice.
The University at Albany’s School of Public Health is unique because of its strong partnership with the New York State Department of Health, one of the largest, most prestigious health departments in the country, frequently on the front lines confronting new emerging infections or threats of bio-terrorism. This collaboration is special because it expedites real-time integration of academic discipline with the every-day practice of public health on the national, state and local levels.
Practicum placements ensure that DrPH students are exposed to on-the-job doctoral training experiences in ways that are unparalleled and cannot be duplicated in other schools of public health. Students work side-by-side in mentoring relationships with senior public health practitioners who solve real public health problems by researching, designing, implementing and evaluating interventions, programs, and policies to alleviate problems confronting communities today. Practicum placements are available in such diverse settings as maternal and child health, epidemiological surveillance, chronic disease prevention, cancer control and treatment, violence and injury prevention, HIV/AIDS and international health to name a few.
Most importantly, practicum placements frequently result in doctoral dissertations, career direction, and even eventual employment in leadership positions upon graduation. In addition to mentoring in the field, faculty members, who are full-time employees in the New York State Department of Health, actively participate as teachers and dissertation committee members to further enrich the educational experience of DrPH students.
In addition to being the only accredited school of public health with a strong affiliation with a state health department, the DrPH program also incorporates a highly successful leadership institute. The Northeast Public Health Leadership Institute (NEPHLI), housed within the School of Public Health, supports emerging leaders from state and local public health departments and allied public and private organizations to broaden their vision of public health policy, practice and collaboration and foster improved decision making within their organizations.
NEPHLI provides participating Scholars with opportunities to gain practical experience from experts in a variety of fields. Topics include: leadership development, measuring and improving public health performance, developing collaborative relationships and partnerships, team building, group problem solving, responding to the needs for cultural diversity and competence, and addressing the training needs of the public health workforce. Scholars also learn to evaluate their own potential for leadership and their leadership styles. Curricula are tailored to meet the needs of Scholars and address issues important to their personal growth and to building healthier communities.
In sum, the University at Albany School of Public Health is a model of excellence in professional education, which should be emulated by other institutions of higher learning. The integration of academic rigor and practical experience guarantees that our graduates are extremely well prepared to face the real world of public health when they graduate.