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Public Health

School/College: Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health

Degrees Conferred:

Contents

Related Certificate

Overview

The Zilber School of Public Health offers a Master of Public Health (MPH), a professional master’s degree program with five distinct tracks of study. The MPH program provides students with a broad understanding of public health practice and allows specialization in in Biostatistics, Community and Behavioral Health Promotion, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, or Public Health Policy and Administration.

Like most MPH programs, the Zilber SPH’s program imparts knowledge and skills in each of these core disciplines in public health, helping prepare all students to analyze information and consider solutions to public health problems at the community, institutional, and societal levels. Courses have been designed to teach crosscutting competencies as defined by Zilber SPH faculty. Cross-cutting public health competencies are commonly separated into seven categories: communications/informatics, diversity/culture, leadership, professionalism, program planning/evaluation, public health biology, and systems thinking. In addition, students apply for a specific track of study, gaining deeper knowledge in one of five areas. Find below an overview of innovations that set these tracks of study apart from many MPH programs.

Biostatistics

The Biostatistics track builds on the classic Public Health Biostatistics skill and knowledge base and takes advantage of special knowledge of its faculty in the areas of genetics, bioinformatics, and big data science. Students have the opportunity to learn and apply statistical genetics in the context of complex disease study, high throughout computing used in ‘big’ data science, and applications in evidence-based patient-centered outcome studies. Courses include topics and material such as interpretation of personalized and evidence-based medicine in the context of public health; basic understanding of genetics and epigenetics; and general ‘omic’ approaches and concepts.

Community and Behavioral Health Promotion

The Community and Behavioral Health Promotion (CBHP) track focuses on promoting the health of communities through innovative approaches to community engagement and collaborative practice. Coursework addresses theories and frameworks in social and behavioral science, evidence-based methods for program planning (including assessment) and implementation, and program evaluation. Students apply a social justice and equity-centered approach to public health training and practice. Methodological approaches address quantitative, qualitative, and community-engaged techniques.

Environmental Health

The Environmental Health track offers students an opportunity to learn laboratory techniques important for public health practice professionals. Students benefit from faculty expertise in environmental and developmental toxicology and faculty use of animal models to research public health issues. All students complete a Field Experience, too. Placed with the Milwaukee Health Department’s Division of Disease Control and Environmental Health or another environmental health-based community partner, students’ experiences incorporate environmental health theories with crosscutting public health competencies like communication, public health biology, systems-thinking, or leadership.

Epidemiology

The Epidemiology track is unique among national schools of public health in its emphasis on the application of epidemiologic theory and methods for promoting social justice and health equity. Our integrated multidisciplinary curriculum bridges theory, research, and practice to prepare students to engage in rigorous, collaborative, evidence-informed, and reflexive public health practice. Through both didactic and experiential learning, students acquire foundations of applied epidemiological methods, epidemiologic data analysis, theories of social inequality, social epidemiology, and community partnership building. Graduates are able to collect, analyze, and interpret epidemiological information, generate theory-driven hypotheses and research questions, and work in true collaboration with diverse community partners to create social change to improve the public’s health and reduce health inequities.

Public Health Policy and Administration

The Public Health Policy and Administration (PHPA) track is unique in its focus on equipping students with an inter-sectoral, systems-level, applied approach to informing public health policy and administration that promotes health equity. Emphasizing a comprehensive perspective and integrated strategy that links theory with practice, the PHPA curriculum provides students with a foundational understanding of social and policy theory, quantitative and qualitative methods, and policymaking and its broader context. Graduates obtain a breadth of knowledge and skills applicable to a variety of fields in the public and private sectors as well as the ability to effectively apply their knowledge and tools to practice.

Graduate Faculty

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Professors
Cisler, Ron, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (Affiliate Faculty; College of Health Sciences)
Etzel, Ruth, MD, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Fendrich, Michael, Ph.D., [Distinguished Professor], University of Texas at Austin (Affiliate Faculty; Helen Bader School of Social Welfare)
McRoy, Susan, Ph.D., University of Toronto (Affiliate Faculty; College of Engineering and Applied Science)
Peck, Magda, Sc.D., Harvard University
Schutz, Aaron, Ph.D., M.P.P., M.A., University of Michigan (Affiliate Faculty; School of Education)
Tonellato, Peter, Ph.D., University of Arizona
Weinhardt, Lance, Ph.D., Syracuse University
Associate Professors
Carvan, Michael III Ph.D., Texas A&M University (Affiliate Faculty; School of Freshwater Sciences)
Cho, Young, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago
Do, D. Phuong (Phoenix), Ph.D., M.Phil, The RAND Graduate School
Florsheim, Paul, Ph.D., Northwestern University
Huang, Chiang-Ching Spencer, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Klos, Lori, Ph.D., Cornell University (Affiliate Faculty; College of Health Sciences)
Malcoe, Lorraine Halinka, M.P.H., Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley
McLellan, Sandra, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati Medical Center (Affiliate Faculty;
School of Freshwater Sciences)
Strath, Scott, Ph.D. University of Tennessee (Affiliate Faculty; College of Health Sciences)
Svoboda, Kurt, Ph.D., S.U.N.Y at Stony Brook
Swartz, Ann, Ph.D., University of Tennessee (Affiliate Faculty; College of Health Sciences)
Assistant Professors
Auer, Paul, Ph.D., Purdue University
Bartholomew, Karla, Ph.D., J.D., M.P.H., P.A, Vanderbilt University
Harley, Amy, Ph.D., M.P.H., Ohio State University
Kalkbrenner, Amy, Ph.D., M.P.H., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Laestadius, Linnea, Ph.D., M.P.P., Johns Hopkins University
Laiosa, Michael, Ph.D., State University of New York, Upstate Medical University
Loyd, Jenna, Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley
Ma, Hongbo, Ph.D., University of Georgia
Miller, Todd, Ph.D., University of Maryland
Ngui, Emmanuel, Dr.P.H., M.Sc, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Simanek, Amanda, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Walker, Renee, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., University of Pittsburgh
Wang, Helen, Ph.D., Michigan Technological University
Yan, Alice, Ph.D., University of Maryland

Master of Public Health

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Admission

An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus the following program requirements to be considered for admission to the program. These materials will be considered in a holistic admissions process with special attention to ensure a diverse student body.

  1. Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic experience and potential for graduate work in public health.
  2. CV or resume.
  3. Score report from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), taken within the last five years.
  4. The admissions committee may consider GMAT, LSAT, MCAT scores in place of GRE scores. Students requesting this or any other exception should apply in writing for consideration by the Applications Review Committee.
  5. Address the following two Short Essay questions, limiting responses to no more than 500 words (approximately 250 words per question):
    • Describe how your professional, volunteer, and educational background has led you to seek a degree in Public Health.
    • How will your desired track of study help you reach your personal and professional goals in Public Health?
  6. International applicants must also meet admission standards set and monitored by UWM’s Center for International Education.

An MPH Application Checklist is available on the program website to assist applicants in organizing the application, and this check list must be submitted, along with the CV or resume. Applicants must note their desired track of study on the check list.

Successful applicants to the Environmental and Occupational track will have upper-level chemistry, biology, and mathematics through at least one semester of calculus.

Advisor

Each student will be assigned a track-specific Faculty Advisor during Orientation week preceding the first semester. Faculty Advisors assist the student in the development of an individual Plan of Study designed to advance the career goals of the student and consistent with track curricula. The Advisor plays an important role in connecting the Field Experience, Capstone, and career goals for each student.

UWM’s Zilber School recognizes the importance of a strong faculty advising program coupled with a sound system for monitoring student progress in all programs. A school wide student evaluation each semester assesses progress and ensures that students are on track for graduation. Feedback in December to students will be through faculty advisors, while students will receive a letter in May signed by the faculty advisor and program director confirming progress and noting any guidance for the second year, including plans and timetable for remediation when necessary.

Administrative offices of the Zilber School of Public Health have staff assigned on policies and procedures for admission, academic progression, and graduation. If deemed necessary, any student can petition to the Zilber SPH’s Office of Academic and Student Affairs for a reassignment of Faculty Advisor. Program track faculty will make every effort to accommodate requests to give all students opportunities for success in the program.

Credits and Courses

All students enrolled in the MPH program take a common set of core classes designed to give basic skills and knowledge of public health concepts. The core curriculum consists of at least 20 credit hours, including at least three credits Field Experience and a two-credit capstone seminar. In addition to the common core, students complete the required coursework in one of five specialization tracks: Biostatistics, Community and Behavioral Health Promotion, Environmental Health Sciences, Epidemiology, or Public Health Policy and Administration. The MPH degree varies from 42-48 credits depending on the track. Students must maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.0 or better in order to progress through the program.

MPH Required Common Core Courses (at least 20 credits)
PH 702: Introduction to Biostatistics (3 credits)
PH 703: Environmental Health Sciences (3 credits)
PH 704: Principles and Methods of Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 705: Public Health Policy and Administration (3 credits)
PH 706: Perspectives in Community and Behavioral Health (3 credits)
PH 790: Field Experience in Public Health (at least 3 credits)
PH 800: Capstone in Public Health (2 credits)
Biostatistics Track (22 credits)
Curriculum under development
Required Courses, 13 credits
“S” electives, at least 9 credits
Community and Behavioral Health Promotion Track (24 credits)
Required Courses (15 credits)
PH 701: Public Health Principles and Practice (3 credits)
PH 725: Theories and Models of Health Behavior (3 credits)
PH 726: Community Health Assessment (3 credits)
PH 727: Program Planning and Implementation in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 728: Program Evaluation in Public Health (3 credits)
Methods “S” electives- choose two (6 credits minimum)
PH 729: Survey Research Methods in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 736: Advanced Qualitative Methods (3 credits) TBD
PH 731: Community Engaged and Participatory Research and Practice (3 credits)
Electives – Choose one (3 credits minimum)
PH 732: Youth Mental Health Practice for Non Mental health Professionals (3 credits)
KIN 732 Physical Activity and Health Across the Lifespan (3 credits)
PH 734: Mental Health and Public Health (3 credits) TBD
PH 735: Social Justice, Race, and Health (3 credits) TBD
PH 740: Special Topics in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 999: Independent Study
Other classes as approved by advisor
Environmental Health Sciences Track (at least 22 credits)
Required Courses (11 credits)
PH 701: Public Health Principles and Practice (3 credits)
PH 743: Environmental Risk Assessment (3 credits)
PH 762: Environmental Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 750: Seminar in Environmental Health Sciences (1 credit x 2)
Built Environment “S” elective – Choose one
GEOG 520: The Physical Geography of the City (3 credits)
GEOG 880/Urb Plan 880: Challenges to Urban Sustainability (3 credits)
GEOG 945: The Internal Structure of the City (3 credits)
Ind Eng 580 Ergonomics (3 credits)
URBPLAN 791 Intro to Urban GIS for Planning (3 credits)
Other classes as approved by advisor
Chemical Environment “S” elective- Choose one
PH 741: Environmental Health Microbiology (3 credits) TBD
PH 744: Environmental Toxicology (3 credits) TBD
PH 745: Developmental Toxicology (3 credits)
Other classes as approved by advisor
Biological Environment “S” elective- Choose one
PH 741: Environmental Health Microbiology (3 credits) TBD
PH 745: Developmental Toxicology (3 credits)
PH 775: Mechanisms of Infectious Disease (2 credits)
Other classes as approved by advisor
Elective
Choose one additional course from the Built, Chemical, or Biological “S” electives listed above or other classes as approved by advisor
Epidemiology Track (27 credits)
Curriculum under development
Required Courses, 18 credits
“S” electives, at least 3 credits
Electives, at least 6 credits
Public Health Policy and Administration Track (28 credits)
Curriculum under development
Required Courses, 19 credits
Content Electives, at least 6 credits
Methods Elective, at least 3 credits
Field Experience
PH 790 Field Experience (Minimum of three credits, Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory)

The purpose of the Field Experience is to provide students with a practical public health experience that allows them to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to public health problems. Students work with their Faculty Advisor and school staff to identify a placement that matches the student’s public health interests and career goals. Students complete a minimum of three credits (65 contact hours per one credit, 200 hours total) with the organization. Many students choose to complete their field experience working in a local health department or community-based organization with public health-related programs and services. The experience is a mentored placement engaging both Faculty and a Site Preceptor.

The over-arching objectives of the practice experience are:

  • To help students further develop skills or competencies learned in their coursework by applying them in a public health practice setting.
  • To provide a means for acquiring practical skills that are useful to public health professions and that are not available solely through academic instruction.
  • To link the classroom experience to the core functions of public health practice and priorities as described in the Healthy People 2020 and Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 plans (or their successors).
  • To understand the political, economic, environmental, social and organizational contexts within which public health activities are conducted.
  • To gain exposure to an organizational and/or community context for public health activities.
Capstone
PH 800 Capstone in Public Health (2-credits), completed in the final year of study

The capstone requires students to integrate the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom, Field Experience, and/or lab into some aspect of professional public health practice. Students work with their Faculty Advisor to write a project proposal the semester prior to the capstone reflecting the student’s interests and career goals. Students then implement the project during their final semester of the program. The project has both a written paper and oral presentation component, in addition to attending a weekly seminar. The capstone project is an opportunity for students to demonstrate public health competencies.

Thesis

Not required. See capstone for similar culminating experience.

Comprehensive Examination

Not required. See capstone for similar culminating experience.

Time Limit

The student must complete all degree requirements within five years of initial enrollment.

Public Health (PH) Courses

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Courses numbered 300-699 are Undergraduate/Graduate. Courses numbered 700 and above are Graduate only.

701 Public Health Principles and Practice. 3 cr. G.
Examination of fundamental principles designed to improve the health of the public, public health theories, domains, and practices.
702 (effective 09/02/2014) Introduction to Biostatistics. 3 cr. G.
Development and application of statistical reasoning and methods in addressing, analyzing and solving problems in public health. Prereq: grad st; MATH 116 with B or better, or equivalent, or cons instr
702 Introduction to Biostatistics. 3 cr. G.
Development and application of statistical reasoning and methods in addressing, analyzing and solving problems in public health. Prereq: grad st
703 Environmental Health Sciences. 3 cr. G.
Survey of effects environment has on humans, and effects humans have on environment, emphasis on toxicology and infectious disease. Prereq: grad st
704 (effective 09/02/2014) Principles and Methods of Epidemiology. 3 cr. G.
Introduction of the quantitative study of patterns and determinants of health in human populations, including problem conceptualization, study design, measurement, causal inference, estimation accuracy, and threats and solutions to validity. Prereq: grad st; PH 702(C) or cons instr
704 Principles and Methods of Epidemiology. 3 cr. G.
Description and comparison of the health status of populations and assessment of the underlying determinants of risk factors for disease, injury, and death. Prereq: grad st; PH 702(P) or cons instr
705 Principles of Public Health Policy and Administration. 3 cr. G.
Description of delivery, quality and costs of health care for populations; assessment of structure, process and outcomes of population-based health policies and services. Prereq: grad st
706 Perspectives on Community & Behavioral Health. 3 cr. G.
Philosophical underpinnings, conceptual frameworks, and strategies for the application of behavioral and social science concepts to the goals of public health.Prereq: grad st
707 Introduction to Statistical Computing. 1 cr. G.
Introduction to statistical methods as implemented in SAS, including macros and core statistical analysis functions Prereq: grad st; PH 702(C) or cons instr
709 Public Health Informatics. 3 cr. G.
Overview of the rapidly emerging and evolving field of public health informatics - active learning and exposure to new and relevant public health informatics methods, applications, and tools. Prereq: grad st
711 (810) (effective 01/26/2015) Intermediate Biostatistics. 3 cr. G.
Introduction to modern multivariable statistical analysis, based on generalized linear models. Topics include linear regression, logistic regression, one-way and two-way ANOVA, longitudinal analysis, missing data, and mixed models. Prereq: grad st; PH 702(P) or cons instr
712 (effective 09/02/2014) Probability and Statistical Inference. 3 cr. G.
Introductory graduate-level course that provides students with a mathematical treatment and understanding of key concepts in probability and distribution theory and statistical inference, and their applications in public health. Prereq: grad st; Math 231 (P) & 232 (P) or equivalent, or cons instr
725 Theories and Models of Health Behavior. 3 cr. G.
Examine theories of health behavior targeted to each level of the social ecological model, including historical and public health context. Assess utility of these theories in various domains. Prereq: grad st
726 Community Health Assessment. 3 cr. G.
Introduction to the concepts and techniques of community health assessment; conducting and critically analyzing community assessments. Prereq: grad st; PH 701(P) or cons instr
727 Program Planning & Implementation in Public Health. 3 cr. G.
Systematic approach to planning and implementing public health programs, examining program monitoring, methods of impact assessment, and measuring efficiency. Prereq: grad st
728 Program Evaluation in Public Health. 3 cr. G.
Students design and present research and evaluation plans, receive guidance on developing conceptual frameworks and hypotheses, collecting and analyzing data, and developing program evaluation plans. Prereq: grad st
729 Survey Research Methods in Public Health. 3 cr. G.
The application of survey methods with emphases on sampling, survey design and planning, and data collection procedures. Prereq: grad st
732 Youth Mental Health Practice for Non Mental Health Professionals. 3 cr. G.
Examination of mental health principles and practices from a public health professional's perspective, including ethical guidelines, necessary interpersonal skills, and mental health screenings and referrals to services. Prereq: grad st
740 Special Topics in Public Health: (Subtitled). 3 cr. G.
Topics of current interest in public health. May be repeated w/ chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st.
745 Developmental Toxicology. 3 cr. G.
An introduction to the field of developmental toxicology and how environmental contaminants influence vertebrate development, including humans. Prereq: grad st.
750 Seminar in Environmental Health Sciences. (Subtitled). 1-3 cr. G.
Survey of an area in environmental health. Specific credits and add'l prereqs announced in Schedule of Classes each time course offered. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max.
752 (effective 05/19/2014) Public Health and Mental Health. 3 cr. G.
Understanding mental health and mental illness from a public health perspective; designed for an interdisciplinary audience of students, researchers and practitioners. Prereq: grad st.
762 Environmental Epidemiology. 3 cr. G.
Expands upon basic epidemiological principles to tackle current problems in studies of health impacts of contaminants in air, water, food supply, consumer products, and indoor spaces, emphasizing a cross-disciplinary approach. Prereq: grad st; PH 703(P) and PH 704(P) or cons instr.
775 Mechanisms of Infectious Disease. 2 cr. G.
Molecular and cellular means by which microorganisms facilitate infection, withstand or evade immune response, induce damage to host, and ensure transmission to human populations. C L Sci 775 & PH 775 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: grad st; lc & la course in medical microbiology
780 (effective 09/02/2014) Seminar in Public Health Policy and Administration. (Subtitled). 1-3 cr. G.
Survey of an area in Public Health Policy and Administration. Specific credits and add'l prereqs announced in Schedule of Classes each time course offered. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st
790 Field Experience in Public Health. 1-6 cr. G.
Apply skills learned in the classroom to real world public health problems in a mentored field placement, engaging both faculty and site preceptors. Prereq: grad st; PH 701(P), PH 702(P), PH 703(P), PH 704(P), PH 705(P), PH 706(P), and PH 707(P) or cons instr
800 Capstone in Public Health. 2 cr. G.
Application of acquired public health knowledge, experience and competencies in developing a public health project that demonstrates readiness for professional practice. Prereq: grad st; PH 790(P) or cons instr.
801 Seminar in Public Health Research. 3 cr. G.
Immersion in interdisciplinary collaborative approaches to public health research. Prereq: grad st; 1 course in stats/biostats and 1 course in research methods; or cons instr.
810 Biostatistics II. 3 cr. G.
Introduction to modern multivariable statistical analysis, based on generalized linear models. Topics include linear regression, logistic regression, one-way and two-way ANOVA, longitudinal analysis, missing data, and mixed models. Prereq: grad st; PH 702(P) or cons instr
819 Social and Environmental Justice in Public Health. 3 cr. G.
Social and environmental justice perspective on public health problems and concerns. Jointly offered w/ & counts as a repeat of Soc Wrk 819. Prereq: grad st
820 Maternal and Child Health Foundations, Policy and Practice. 3 cr. G.
The foundations of MCH, historical context, financing, challenges, and opportunities in advancing MCH at state, national and international level including the integration of men. Prereq: grad st; PH 702(P), 704(P) or cons instr
825 Social and Behavioral Science in Public Health. 3 cr. G.
Overview of the contribution and use of social and behavioral sciences approaches in public health research, policy, planning/evaluation, practice, and interventions. Prereq: grad st
826 (effective 09/02/2014) Principles of Community Intervention Research. 3 cr. G.
Seminar covering classics in community-based public health research and the development of conceptual and methodological skills in community engagement. Counts a repeat of PH 740 with similar topic. Prereq: grad st.
827 Research Design in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion. 3 cr. G.
Examination of experimental, quasi-experimental, and nonexperimental study designs, focus groups, and coding with qualitative software. Prereq: grad st; admis to doctoral prog; PH 801(P) & 702(P) or cons instr.
831 Community Engagement and Participatory Research Approaches in Public Health. 3 cr. G.
Effective approaches to engaging communities in health interventions and addressing health disparities. Prereq: grad st.
990 Research and Dissertation. 1-8 cr. G.
Original research in any public health discipline Prereq: grad st.
999 Independent Study. 1-3 cr. G.
Independent study on a topic not available as a regular course, directed by a member of the graduate faculty. Prereq: grad st; cons instr.

Page last updated on: 04/08/2014