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As a leader in health education for more than 60 years, Gwynedd Mercy University is proud to launch an innovative Public Health Program to respond to the growing need for public health experts, especially in the wake of a global pandemic.
GMercyU’s new Public Health Program features both a Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) and an online Master of Public Health Degree (MPH) that will prepare future generations of community health workers, public health advocates, disease prevention specialists, Certified Health Education Specialists, and more. The first classes will begin in Fall 2021.
In addition to the standalone bachelor’s- and master’s-level programs, GMercyU students will have the opportunity to choose a 4+1 MPH option to earn both their Bachelor of Science in Public Health and a Master of Public Health in just five years. Qualified dual-degree students will take graduate-level courses during their senior year – as part of their undergraduate tuition – and then seamlessly complete their MPH online the following year.
“The need for healthcare professionals, both in clinical and educational settings, is crucial,” said GMercyU President Deanne H. D’Emilio, JD. “Our new Public Health Program provides another pathway for our Distinctive Mercy Graduates to become highly-qualified health professionals who will make a difference in their communities for years to come.”
Even before the COVID-19 public health emergency, the healthcare landscape was constantly shifting. The aging population and the growth of community-based health care has only increased the need for healthcare professionals, especially public health professionals, occupational therapists, nurses, and more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job growth for all public health professions will grow 10% by 2028. This data was collected before the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has further increased the need for public health professionals.
“As an institution rooted in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy, our decision to launch a Public Health Program came naturally, as the field is grounded in a social justice philosophy,” said Mary Van Brunt, PhD, the University’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Like all of our programs, the Mercy mission of the Sisters will be evident throughout the curriculum, including a focus on global health issues, health disparities, and ethics.”
Public Health touches upon numerous aspects of healthcare outside the clinical setting, including population health, health education and promotion, disease prevention, epidemiology, and environmental health. GMercyU Public Health students will gain hands-on experience through seminars, research, internships, and a capstone course.
Following the completion of the program, BSPH students will be prepared to sit for the CHES exam to become Certified Health Education Specialists, and MPH students will be prepared to sit for the exam offered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners to become Certified in Public Health (CPH).