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Building A 21st Century Public Health Workforce: Saint Mary’s Solution to the Emerging Public Health Challenges

August 15, 2018

Admission Graduate HHS Bachelor Completion HHS Graduate News Public Health

Headlines demonstrate why this is a crucial time for public health advocacy. Important public health threats caused by rising obesity and the opioid epidemic, escalating gun violence, increasing suicide rates, and emerging zoonosis diseases are among a growing list of current public health crises. Making matters worse, there is a shrinking number of public health workers who are qualified to address these issues.

These imminent threats are further advanced by an emerging conspicuous rollback of environmental health protections, the rise of the anti-vaccination movement, an emerging social media era of misinformation, and a growing influence of corporate power over proven age-old public health strategies. The current environment with its pressing uncertainties urgently demands rapid progress in scaling up the public health workforce. With its new Bachelor of Science in Public Health and Master of Public Health (MPH) program, Saint Mary’s University has taken the lead to confront these challenges.

Saint Mary’s offers public health programs congruent with core public health self-determination and collective responsibility aimed at building multidisciplinary public health skills. Our programs offer training in building our students’ core public health core competencies and delivers an exceptional value. At Saint Mary’s, our faculty instills a shared concept of critical thinking concepts as they explore with their students the plethora evidence of public health efforts that work, investigate innovative approaches to collaborating with diverse communities, and learn policy development and system thinking skills.

Our curriculum is designed to develop the required skills of distilling clarity on public health issues at hand, as students learn to be clear, accurate, and relevant. We develop critical skills needed to position our graduating students to advance their public health careers, and prepare them to embark on solving both traditional and emerging public health challenges. Saint Mary’s goal of building a future multidisciplinary public health workforce aims at teaching approaches to prevent disease and death; design interventions for better quality of life; and develop strategies for creating healthy environmental conditions. In our collective effort we aspire to contribute to the nation’s public health systems and with the purpose of improving the overall wellbeing of members of our communities.

Careers in this field include public health care services, governmental public health agencies, the private sector, nonprofits, hospitals, and other settings. Saint Mary’s exciting new program will thread the themes of social justice, service, and social determinants of health throughout the curriculum and student experiences.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has a long history of preparing students in a number of health-related occupations, including pre-professional tracks in medicine, mental health practice, psychology, human services, healthcare management and administration, and advance practice nursing.