At Kent State University, faculty members leading the Master of Public Health (MPH) programme are more than just educators. They are seasoned practitioners and ambassadors dedicated to nurturing the next generation of leaders in the science and art of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. In Northeast Ohio, a region with nationally renowned amenities plus an affordable cost of living, these faculty members are engaged in research that is as innovative as they are community-based and relevant.
Together with their public health ambassadors, these high achievers exemplify the best of what colleges have to offer — as recognised by several organisations and publications.
Accreditation and Recognition
In 2015, Kent State’s College of Public Health received its initial accreditation from the Board of Councilors of the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). In 2021, the CEPH Board of Councilors accredited the college until 2028. In 2022, the university received the prestigious Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalisation from NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
The accreditations and awards confirm what many international students already know: that their university excels in integrating international education throughout all facets of the university and its campuses. “The Senator Paul Simon Award is our nation’s top prize for excellence in global education,” Kent State President Todd Diacon said. “It is a richly deserved award that highlights our excellent education-abroad programmes and our ongoing success in enrolling and graduating international students.”
Kent State is home to 1,370 international students from nearly 100 countries. It’s a continuation of its long history of being among the first to exchange students with the Soviet Union during the Cold War and hosting Iranian students prior to Iran’s revolution in 1978-79. Faculty members and staff have decades of experience providing international students and scholars with the best education. The university maintains its spot among the top 100 destinations for international students, according to Open Doors, a comprehensive information resource on international students and scholars studying or teaching at higher education institutions in the US, and US students studying abroad for academic credit at their home colleges or universities.
At the College of Public Health, faculty members possess another aspect of experience that pairs well with the university’s global impact: decades in industry and academia.
The college’s distinguished faculty comprises professionals and researchers from diverse backgrounds. One example is epidemiology professor Christopher Woolverton. He has been an important health advisor shaping Kent State’s COVID-19 safety measures and was selected to serve as a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Jefferson Science Fellow.
Another example is Dr. Tara Smith. Her research focuses on zoonotic infections. She was the first to identify livestock-associated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the US and pioneered the investigation of this organism. Her work has been profiled in many major publications, including Science, Nature, and The New York Times, as well as in “Superbug: The Fatal Menace of MRSA” by Maryn McKenna and “Pig Tales: an Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat” by Barry Estabrook.
Smith’s colleague, Dr. Madhav Bhatta, is just as prolific. He brings almost 20 years of administrative, teaching, training, and research experience in public health, especially in infectious disease epidemiology and global health. He serves as a consultant epidemiologist for the Carroll County and Tuscarawas County General Health Districts in Northeast Ohio as part of their Public Health Emergency Preparedness Programme.
Faculty members like Dr. Woolverton, Dr. Smith, and Dr. Bhatta may be figures of national importance. In Kent State’s classrooms and laboratories, however, their focus is solely on students and their journeys to a career with impact. A faculty-to-student ratio of 1:15 makes this possible, allowing them to give keen attention and create supportive learning environments.
“We have small class sizes that make it an optimal learning environment for students. Faculty provide individual attention that enhances the learning process and allows time for the faculty and students to partner in research and learning,” says Jeff Hallam, Senior Associate Dean.
Public health ambassadors offer another level of guidance. “Our public health career ambassadors not only assist students with their career planning, but they work with faculty in designing curriculum. Their collective expertise is invaluable to placing our students in internships, practicums, and jobs. The college is privileged to have decades of practical experience and extraordinary time commitment,” said Sonia Alemagno, dean.
An MPH that can make a real difference in communities and populations
Kent State’s MPH is ranked in the top 100 public health programmes in the US (US News & World Report). There are many reasons why the MPH consistently achieves this — chief among which is how well it prepares students for their careers.
The programme allows students to specialise in biostatistics, epidemiology, health policy and management or social and behavioural sciences. As the curriculum focuses on evidence-based approaches, it empowers students to apply epidemiological methods across diverse settings and employ quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques. Training is hands-on — the programme uses real-life scenarios and data and includes multifaceted challenges in the field.
All of this prepares students for a wide range of careers. Graduates are in demand at general hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, state and local health departments, federal health agencies and biotechnology companies. International health agencies, mental health centres and non-profit organisations also recruit them.