UB to offer accelerated route to Master of Public Health degree

A response to public health reforms, increased need for experts in population health

Release Date: December 4, 2014

BUFFALO, N.Y. —  In the fall of 2015, the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions will offer a 12-month accelerated master’s degree program in public health (MPH) with a concentration in health services administration and population health.

The new program will be administered by the Division for Health Services Policy and Practice headed by Arthur Michalek, PhD, in the school’s Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health.

Michalek says the program is a response to reforms in the health care delivery system, which has turned its focus to population health, that is, the health consequences of delivery systems for entire human populations, including the distribution of those consequences within a group.

“Traditionally, the public health profession has focused on outcomes for individual patients,” Michalek says.

“Now the health of populations and the delivery of health care to those populations is a major component of health and human service delivery. Even revisions in the health care payment structure focus on preventive health services and accountability for health outcomes,” he says, “and that’s what is driving policy decisions at the federal, state and local levels.”

Michalek says health administrators with population health training will be in high demand as the Affordable Care Act evolves and the health care sector continues to expand. The intention here, he says, is to prepare health and health-related human services professionals to administer health care delivery systems competently in this new environment.

Jean Wactawski-Wende, professor of epidemiology and environmental health and interim dean of the school, agrees.

“Competent practice in the reformed system requires acquisition of knowledge and skills in an array of population health and prevention-oriented principles that are at the foundation of public health," Wactawski-Wende says.

“Our school has a long history of preparing professionals at the master and doctoral levels in the public health disciplines, and has developed a highly qualified faculty that includes experienced practitioners in relevant community health fields,” she says.

“We are well-positioned and well-prepared to offer the new MPH accelerated program with the same high quality coursework and community involvement as the longer program,” she says.

The program will include coursework and research on topics such as health system administrative theory and practice; health program planning and evaluation; the study of disease and prevention in population groups; population health behaviors; applied biostatistics; and environmental health.

UB has the only school in the western New York region offering a concentration in health services administration accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

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