NIU to offer master of public health degree online beginning this fall, registration open

Sally Conklin and Brigid Lusk
Sally Conklin and Brigid Lusk

Health care has been identified as one of the fastest growing fields in the job market.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care and social assistance careers have the largest projected wage and salary employment growth for the next 10 years. Not everyone knows what health career paths are available or how more education will translate into a job, however.

People who are interested in making a difference in the health of their communities might consider a career in public health.

The field of public health offers a broad range of opportunities for people who want to create positive changes to the health of whole populations through health education, in-depth research or improved use of available health care resources.

NIU’s College of Health and Human Sciences is committed to helping people prepare for their life’s work in health careers. Their latest innovation is the online master of public health degree. This degree offers the same quality course work available in the M.P.H. program’s traditional classes, but it offers the flexibility of online learning for working students who might not have the time or resources to come to campus.

The program is open to students with a bachelor’s degree in any major who want to train to become public health professionals. Unlike some programs at other area universities, NIU’s M.P.H. is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

“Each public health course was adapted to online delivery by faculty who know how to foster student engagement,” says professor Sally Conklin, NIU’s public health coordinator. “Our students gain competencies that lead directly to advancement in health-related careers.”

The M.P.H. program has a high success rate for job placement. More than 90 percent of NIU’s M.P.H. graduates have entered health-related careers.

Official seal of Lake County, Ill.M.P.H. graduate Seth Kidder is the supervising environmental health practitioner for the Lake County Health Department in the Environmental Health Division.

His M.P.H. prepared him to bring geographic information system (GIS) technologies to the health department to track the spread of H1N1, define a food desert in a community, pinpoint accidental falls among the elderly and record pockets of high chronic disease.

“As a student with a full-time job, I chose NIU because of the variety of courses offered and the convenient class schedules,” Kidder says. “My education included a foundation built with theoretical studies and real-life applications. This allowed me to understand not just how, but also why it was so important to protect the public’s health.”

“The strength of NIU’s fully accredited M.P.H. program is world-class faculty,” adds Brigid Lusk, chair emerita of NIU’s School of Nursing and Health Studies. “Our professors earned doctoral degrees at first-rate institutions and conduct public health research throughout the U.S. and the world, including Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Japan. Their promotion of a green environment, passion for the health of all humanity, and interest in student growth puts this program in high demand.”

The first cohort of the online master’s of public health degree begins this fall. NIU’s Graduate School is accepting applications for fall start students until July 15.

To learn more about the online master of public health program, visit niu.edu/mph-online or contact Jennifer Thorndyke, M.P.H. information specialist and recent M.P.H. graduate, at (815) 753-1324 or mphonline@niu.edu.

by Gillian King-Cargile

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