While working as a life and health insurance professional, 57-year-old Stacy Ellice Olivia Pope, noticed that older adults and seniors, particularly those who were Black, were more likely to have more than one illness at once. Seeking to know more, she took a free online course about the Ebola pandemic and the lessons on how the next public health crisis can be prevented. This sparked her interest to fully dive into helping marginalised communities alleviate their suffering and overcome health inequities.
Her next step was to join the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH). Part of Georgia Southern University, the college is home to 42 faculty, seven staff and nearly 500 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students. Now one of them, Pope can attest to the many benefits of the programme she joined: the fully-online MPH in Applied Public Health.
With this top-tier and affordable institution, Pope is making strides in gaining the knowledge and skills to make substantial contributions to the field of public health and improving the health and wellness of the communities she plans to serve.
There is a benefit to having someone with whom you identify with culturally, and there is an opportunity in having diversity, “she explains. “Overall, I gained a newfound appreciation for the shared goals and dedication of public health instructors in enhancing population health.”
Get an impactful master’s in public health from anywhere in the world
By choosing JPHCOPH’s online MPH programmes, students gain the advantages of an accredited, flexible, affordable, and reputable education that prepares them for a successful career in public health. The college holds accreditation from Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) and provides high-quality education at an affordable cost to students from anywhere in the world.
However, it takes a lot more than simply taking classes to hone the versatile skills for this field and to guide students on their journey to making an impact on individuals and communities. Students enrolled in public health programs in the JPHCOPH are positioned to be exposed and impacted by 42 diverse and experienced faculty members who actively engage in research and community initiatives as teachers, instructors and mentors. They create a supportive atmosphere where students can share their passion for improving community well-being. In classes, they use innovative pedagogies, with curricula reviewed and updated regularly to match the changing public health realities. In many instances, these curricula are infused with community-based public health challenges that bridge theory to practice.
Not only did the fully online programme give Pope the flexibility she needed, but it also provided her with a team of people on the other end of her computer who were always ready to provide academic and technical support. “During my undergraduate studies, 30 years ago, I never had a professor of colour. So, having Dr. Stacy Smallwood and Dr. Tilicia Mayo-Gamble here was a significant and impactful experience,” says Pope. “They were invested in my success and went beyond their roles, offering guidance and support outside of class, even providing recommendations for other opportunities.”
JPHCOPH’s MPH programme offers seven concentration areas, two of which are fully online: Applied Public Health and Public Health Informatics. The online format allows students to customise their class schedules and field experiences to accommodate personal and professional commitments, making it ideal for working professionals and those with other obligations.
The MPH in Applied Public Health is well positioned to align with the varied interests and career goals of students, specialising in areas such as leadership, health policy, and community health. This broad exposure to principles and practices of public health fosters intellectual curiosity and supports professional growth.
According to Dr Joanne Chopak-Foss, associate professor of community health and director of the MPH programme, the programme provides a comprehensive overview of public health while offering a flexible learning experience tailored to each student’s interests.
“Graduates gain a large set of knowledge and skills that are transferable to jobs in public health, health care, and several other industries,” Chopak-Foss says.
Upon completion of the programme, graduates are well-prepared for careers in government agencies, nonprofit organisations, and community health organisations. They acquire a diverse range of knowledge and skills, including planning and evaluation, public health preparedness, social marketing and communication, cultural competency, leadership, and strategic planning. Common job roles for graduates of this programme include health unit coordinator, chronic disease epidemiologist, injury prevention specialist, health service administrator, environmental scientist and more.
Shape public health practice and policy with an online MPH in Public Health Informatics
A US$1.8 million federal grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services helped JPHCOPH develop their new Public Health Informatics programme. Students interested in acquiring the necessary skills for effectively shaping modern public health practice and policy, can pursue the MPH in Public Health Informatics.
This online programme exposes students to a well-rounded curriculum that includes the fundamentals of health informatics, using public health and healthcare information systems to enhance health outcomes, analysing health data, managing information systems, and using public health data visualisation to support evidence-based practice.
This programme equips students with the skills needed to thrive in the growing field of Public Health Informatics. Graduates gain a competitive advantage as they possess the knowledge and expertise to navigate and leverage information systems in public health settings. The programme also prepares students for clinical and healthcare positions that require information and data application for coordination, quality, and safety. As such, graduates can become public health informaticians, data analysts, computer systems managers and bioinformatics scientists. The best part? The skills and knowledge obtained in the Public Health Informatics programme are applicable to various industries such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, information technology and insurance.
“I was excited about the accredited, fully-online MPH in Public Health Informatics at Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health. As a working professional, an online programme is ideal for me. I hope this degree helps me pursue an administrative role at Wellstar, using public health informatics to enhance quality and safety for patients and employees,” says Erica Rivera-Armoreda, an online MPH Public Health Informatics student.
To learn more about JPHCOPH and its online programmes, click here.