Eastern Michigan's new public health degree to prepare students to respond to health issues

Program developed to meet student demand, needs of job market

by Pamela Young, Published August 15, 2014

YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University now offers a new undergraduate degree in public health with two available tracks - health administration and community health. The new degree program, which starts Fall 2014, was developed in response to student demand and the needs of the job market.

Colleen Croxall, director of Eastern Michigan's School of Health Sciences, says there is a demand for graduates in public health

“This degree will prepare students for entry level positions in public health settings, such as government, nonprofits, consulting and advocacy organizations,” said Colleen Croxall, associate professor and director of EMU’s School of Health Sciences. “There is a strong need in the field, so once our students graduate, they will be able to work in the field of public health. It also offers excellent preparation for advanced study in public health, law, medicine and related fields.”

Public health professionals protect and improve the health of communities through education, the promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for diseases and the prevention of injuries.

Possible positions for new graduates include:

  • Working as program assistants with international health organizations
  • Carrying out health-related assessments at construction sites
  • Working as research assistants with nonprofit organizations
  • Doing consulting work related to disease prevention
  • Working at companies doing health communication and marketing
  • Conducting air quality sampling and surveying
  • Responding to calls at a West Nile virus hotline
  • Serving in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps
  • Participating in Centers for Disease Control (CDC) training fellowships

The average age of state public health workers is 47 years old, and these experienced professionals are approaching retirement age, according to the American Public Health Association  (APHA).

The APHA works to promote recruitment and retention levels, and ensure that public health professionals are adequately trained. The organization estimates that current vacancy rates can be as high as 20 percent in some state agencies and turnover rates have reached 14 percent in some parts of the country.

For more information on the degree, visit http://www.emich.edu/chhs/hs/programs/public_health.php or call 734-487-4096.


Pamela Young

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