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Make a meaningful impact on your community

Public health professionals work to improve and protect the quality of life in communities through prevention, education, and policy.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for health educators and community health workers is expected to grow by 13% between 2014 and 2024.

The demand is growing across the country and the world for more health workers to meet ongoing community health needs. The aging population, the rise of chronic health challenges, worldwide viral epidemics, and a nationwide focus on preventive health have all influenced the necessity for more professionals in the field. Public health covers a broad range of fields but at its core is about prevention.

  • Behavioral health
  • Health disparities
  • Community health and preventive medicine
  • Immigrant health
  • Environmental health
  • Health services administration
  • Global health
  • Maternal and child health
  • Occupational health and industrial hygiene
  • Disease prevention (HIV/AIDS, diabetes, etc.)
  • Public health education and promotion
  • Bioterrorism.

The public health program prepares students for jobs or advanced study in a wide range of entry-level positions in governmental, healthcare delivery, and non-governmental agencies whose missions are to improve the health of the public. The program prepares students to study the theory and practice of public health, health and wellness program development, the science and strategies for chronic disease prevention, data analysis, and how communication systems impact attempts to affect health-related behavioral changes. Emphases threaded throughout the curriculum include the concepts of cultural competence, health disparities, and social justice.

  • Community engagement manager
  • Community health manager
  • Health communication specialist
  • Health educator
  • Health policy specialist
  • Public health adviser
  • Public health investigator
  • Biostatistician
  • Clinical trials manager
  • Data analyst
  • Emergency preparedness coordinator
  • Environmental health analyst
  • Epidemiologist
  • Health outcomes analyst
  • Health promotion specialist
  • Infection prevention specialist
  • Policy analyst
  • Population health manager
  • Project coordinator/manager
  • Public health program specialist
  • Research assistant
  • Social or behavioral scientist.
  • County, state and public health agencies
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Hospitals and medical facilities
  • Managed care organizations
  • Academia
  • Corporate sector
  • National Institute of Health (NIH)
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

As a working adult, you have experience that matters. Your firsthand knowledge will enhance classroom discussions, and you’ll gain skills that employers want. Plus, with Saint Mary's generous credit transfer policies, the coursework that you've already completed will help you finish your degree faster.

Take our Transfer Challenge or Request Info

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Application Materials

Applicants must submit:

  1.  Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
  2. All official transcripts issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from all previous institutions attended with a minimum of 30 semester credits with a basic English composition course. 
    (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated by a university accepted evaluation source, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).

Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities campus.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN  55404

Location

This program is offered at our Twin Cities location.

Learn more from these professional resources:

American Public Health Association
World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

Foundational Course  3 cr.
Required Courses 36 cr.
Capstone Course 3 cr.
Total 42 cr.

Foundational Course: 3 cr.

BPH300 Human Biology (3 cr.)

This course introduces fundamental aspects of human physiology with emphasis on organ systems, their components, and their functions.  Students compare states of health and disease across the lifespan spectrum.  Topics include introductions to human physiology, organ systems, cell biology, and genetics.  The molecular bases for physiologic processes are introduced.  The roles of exercise, nutrition, lifestyle, aging, and the environment on states of health are introduced in relation to fundamental physiological principles.  

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following. 

  1. Describe the functions of different organ systems and their constituent components.
  2. Explain what a gene is and how genetic regulation and differences contribute to normal physiology as well as diversity and disease.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of how lifestyle affects physiology and ultimately an individual's state of health or disease. 

*This course is considered foundational and students can either transfer in a human biology course or take it at Saint Mary's.

Required Courses: 36 cr.

BPH400 Foundations of Public Health (3 cr.)

This course provides an overview of the discipline of public health by introducing concepts and structures essential to the promotion of a healthy society.  Emphasis is placed on viewing health and disease from a population perspective in comparison to that of the individual.  The history of the field of public health, the major institutions in the U.S. and worldwide, and critical concepts such as the roles of communication, human behavior, and cultural competence are introduced. 

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Differentiate between the concepts of individual health and public health.
  2. Discuss the history of public health initiatives and their impact on local and global health. 
  3. Examine the relationship between biological, environmental, developmental, and socio-economic domains of health and disease.
  4. Describe interventions of epidemiological research, primary prevention, program development, and the evaluation of the effectiveness of such interventions.
  5. Discuss the concept of social determinants of health.
  6. Outline the structures and functions of the U.S. public health system.

BPH405 Measurement and Statistics for Health Professionals (3 cr.)

This course introduces students to the use of data, measurement, and basic statistics in the field of public health. This introduction to biostatistics provides an overview of data collection, sample sizes, normality of data sets, basic measurement statistics, parametric and non-parametric statistical comparisons, and statistical significance. Students apply concepts through in-class labs and real world data collection.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1.  Apply basic statistical methods.          
  2.  Describe the role of data in making inferences and decisions about comparison groups, treatments, and interventions. 
  3.  Examine data sets for suitability for statistical analysis.
  4.  Use a statistical software package to perform basic statistical analyses. 
  5.  Understand approaches to data collection, data evaluation, and statistical comparisons.

BPH410 Introduction to Epidemiology (3 cr.)

This introductory course considers the meaning, scope, and applications of epidemiology to public health practice and the uses of vital statistical data in the scientific appraisal of community health. Students learn and apply basic epidemiology concepts within a population-based framework, and examine the study of determinants and distributions of disease in the population.  More broadly, students analyze and research health outcomes using a population health lens. Students actively apply epidemiological concepts to current health environments, health trends, emerging research, acute and chronic diseases, infectious diseases, and evolving public health concerns/problems.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1.  Define elements of the field of epidemiology and examples of problems that are addressed by epidemiologists. 
  2.  Describe the contributions of the field of epidemiology to public health.
  3.  Discuss how health data are collected, analyzed, and used to study diseases in populations.
  4.  Differentiate between a statistical association and a causal relationship. 

BPH415 Health Policy and Ethics (3 cr.)

This course explores the concepts of legal, ethical, economical, and regulatory dimensions of healthcare and public health policy, and the roles, influences and responsibilities of the different agencies and branches of government.
 

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Examine the relationship between policy decisions and their effects on community systems and social change.
  2. Understand the roles of both governmental and non-governmental agencies in healthcare and public health policy.
  3. Identify and relate codes, regulations, and laws to public health issues, including vaccination, drinking water, work place safety, food safety, gun violence, and motor vehicle safety.
  4. Analyze the significance of ethical values and beliefs, and the roles they play in decision making.

BPH425 Principles of Population Health and Disease (3 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to common diseases and their biological and behavioral bases. The relationship between individual health and behavior, and population health and behavior are explored. Acute and chronic diseases, infectious diseases, and their prevention and treatments are described and discussed. The roles that social determinants play in health and diseases are examined.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Discuss current diseases of societal importance and their biological and behavioral bases.
  2. Identify the determinants of health outcomes both within and across groups of individuals.
  3. Analyze the socio-economic impact on health status within populations.
  4. Articulate the socio-ecological models of population health, including community organizations, social networks, institutional factors, public policy, and individual characteristics.
  5. Describe the interaction between biological, genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors on health across the lifespan continuum.
  6. Identify a spectrum of public health interventions that address specific diseases, including the challenges to their implementation.

BPH430 Community and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health (3 cr.)

This course introduces students to theories and approaches behind health behavior change.  It is an overview of health behaviors that contribute most dramatically to morbidity and mortality.  This course emphasizes public health interventions and strategies to transform unhealthy behaviors into healthy behaviors, how to promote that change, and barriers to affecting such change.  Behaviors are examined from multiple perspectives – individual, social, environmental – with a systems perspective in mind.  Current research and theory are applied to behavior change interventions to better understand the roles of health disparities, policy, current political environments, and contemporary research.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify aspects of human psychology and sociology that impact the ability to change behavior.
  2. Describe successes and failures in directed health-behavioral changes and causes related to change management.
  3. Develop example behavioral change programs, and evaluate their likelihood for success.
  4. Examine patterns, outcomes, risk factors, and interventions related to behaviors and associated health problems.  

BPH435 Public Health Communication (3 cr.)

This course explores fundamentals of public health communication's role in the healthcare delivery structures, the evolution of healthcare reform, and emergency preparedness. Students explore the roles that health literacy and overall public understanding of health-related concepts and data play in development and implementation of communication strategies.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Build skills needed to inform and educate people about health issues, including understanding and using appropriate health literacy approaches.
  2. Apply skills needed to influence people to adopt healthy behaviors and lifestyles using multiple media, including written, verbal, and technological modalities.
  3. Identify best practices in using social marketing and media as part of a strategy for designing an effective public health campaign.
  4. Examine the latest communication innovations, tools, technologies, research, and strategies used in the public health field.

BPH440 Introduction to Public Health Program Planning and Development (3 cr.)

This class provides students with the tools for planning effective public health interventions. Students learn about conducting needs assessments, developing intervention strategies involving community stakeholders, project and budget management, and writing grant proposals.  

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify and study a public health organization based on an intervention topic.
  2. Review best practice methods and techniques in relation to program development, including stakeholder involvement and needs assessment tools.
  3. Propose a program and develop goals and objectives, using a health education logic model.
  4. Plan an intervention strategy based on appropriate behavior change models.
  5. Identify a project management system and action plan for implementing a program.
  6. Understand funding sources/cycles and grant application writing and submission as part of the program planning and development process.

BPH445 Introduction to Public Health Program Implementation and Evaluation (3 cr.)

This class provides students with the tools for implementing and evaluating public health programs, following the planning and development stages.  Students learn applicable skills such as project management, working with community stakeholders, and collecting and analyzing data.  Effective program evaluation, compliance, reporting, and quality improvement techniques are explored.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Discuss application of an intervention strategy based on appropriate behavior change models.
  2. Demonstrate how to effectively facilitate a community stakeholder meeting.
  3. Review and analyze data related to measuring the effectiveness of public health programs.
  4. Assess quality improvement techniques to determine if public health project goals have been met.
  5. Demonstrate how to effectively communicate public health programs and supporting information through written and oral methods.

HHSM302 Writing in the Health Professions (3 cr.)

This course provides strategies for developing academic and professional writing skills relevant to professions in health and human services. Topics include effective written communication in the workplace and appropriate communication styles based on audience. Academic writing is addressed, including use of American Psychological Association (APA) formatting, and library and web research resources. The skills learned prepare the student for written communications in other courses and in multiple occupational settings. 

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify a research topic and develop a thesis statement.
  2. Demonstrate academic integrity and the ethical use of sources in written and oral communication.
  3. Locate and evaluate relevant academic and scholarly sources on a research topic, using library databases and technology resources.
  4. Write and organize a variety of written reports and annotated documents.
  5. Apply APA formatting to documentation.
  6. Organize and manage ideas and sources for research topics.

HHSM325 Cultural Competency for Health and Human Service Professionals (3 cr.)

This course examines best practices in the delivery of health and human services that meet the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of those served. The vital link between cultural competency and access to quality care is examined in both healthcare and human services fields. Special attention is given to underserved communities.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Identify and acknowledge biases and beliefs about diversity.
  2. Describe the impact cross cultural competency has on access to health and outcomes.
  3. Practice with respect, knowledge, and skills related to clients' age, class, color, culture, disability, economic status, ethnicity, family structure, gender, gender identify, lifestyle orientation, national origin, race, and religion.
  4. Recognize contributions from a diverse population, interacting as individuals or groups, to guide evolving organizational and societal systems.

HHSM420 The U.S. Healthcare System (3 cr.)

This course covers the core structure of the U.S. healthcare system, including components of the system, financing, delivery of healthcare, and the consumer perspective.  Emerging healthcare trends and issues in the 21st century are explored, including the impact of healthcare and other policies and legislation on patients, providers, and payers.

Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Describe the structure and function of U.S. healthcare systems.
  2. Analyze the impact of policy and political decisions on the healthcare system.
  3. Describe and compare how healthcare delivery systems are organized and financed, including contrasting models in other areas of the world.  
  4. Analyze the challenges of emerging healthcare trends and the impact on our public health systems and needs.

Capstone Course: 3 cr.

BPH490 Applied Public Health Experience-Capstone (3 cr.)

This summative course integrates the skills and knowledge developed in previous coursework and applies them to a practice-based project.  Students select a focused problem, challenge, or question pertaining to the practice of public health. This full semester course includes a public health field experience, a research paper, and a final presentation related to the student's professional goals.

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Describe the social, behavioral, and cultural frameworks in public health that promote positive change within a focused aspect of the discipline.
  2. Analyze the impact of public health strategies on a local problem and relate this to regional and global problems.        
  3. Synthesize related literature on a focused public health topic into written and verbal summaries.
  4. Summarize the challenges and opportunities that affect the public health within one or more public health agencies.
  5. Create professional goals and career development strategies designed to impact the job seeking process for the individual student.
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