“This is very significant for our state,” said Trudy Larson, director of the school. “All you have to do is look at Nevada’s statistics for health. We have a severely strained infrastructure. We need people with this level of education and training to tackle our challenging health care issues.”
The program offers two areas of specializations. Those specializing in epidemiology focus on the distribution and determinants of health, disease, injuries and disability in populations. As practitioners, they will gather and analyze data to identify public health trends and issues.
Those specializing in social and behavioral health focus on the psychological, behavioral, social, cultural and institutional factors that affect individual and population health. They often work to help solve the public health problems identified by the epidemiologists by designing and implementing programs that include health promotion, health education, public policy, services and interventions.
Because many of those seeking a Master of Public Health degree are working professionals, most of the courses are offered in the evening or online. Larson said the degree and its rigorous 43-credit curriculum makes its graduates “very employable,” and that many recent graduates hold leadership positions in health and human services in the state and western region.