The CUNY School of Public Health: Where rewarding careers are launched
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The CUNY School of Public Health: Where rewarding careers are launched

Everybody deserves good health and for the full potential of their well-being to be realised. Yet, inequities persist. Unfair, avoidable and remediable differences between the haves and have-nots lodge unmoving from increasingly strained healthcare systems. Vaccines should be better distributed. People should suffer neither obesity nor starvation. Technology lie dormant, its power barely tapped. From a social justice lens, the outlook is we can do so much more.

From the heart of New York City, the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is leading the way in ensuring communities will no longer be assigned value based on race, class, gender, place or other factors. Its vibrant community of budding changemakers are already striving to bring equitable, efficient and evidence-based solutions to pressing health problems facing cities not just in the US but across the globe.

They are set to follow the luminaries before them. Armed with the knowledge and skills needed to spark positive change, many CUNY SPH graduates are doing just that now — and in rewarding careers too. Ninety percent of them secured these roles within a year after their commencement ceremonies. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, starting salaries for professionals in their field range between US$60,000 to US$70,000. CUNY SPH graduates have reported this number to be accurate. Some even reported higher starting figures.

Anything is possible with the right graduate qualification. CUNY SPH offers several enriching pathways to professions with impact — at half the tuition cost, compared to other top-ranked schools in the US. Graduate Hondo Martinez credits his career trajectory to the MPH in Health Policy and Management, which teaches the ins and outs of planning and managing public health programmes in a variety of urban settings.

“I’m feeling more respected now that I have an ‘MPH’ at the end of my name,” says the manager of community outreach at VNS Health. “Furthermore, it was great having faculty and other people around me who were actually out in the community — they all have that real-world experience.”

Carolina Lopez’s decision to pursue the MPH in Public Health Nutrition was influenced by family tragedies. Her father was diagnosed with heart and kidney diseases before her brother passed from COVID-19 — Lopez believes both could have been prevented had they received the right nutritional guidance.

“I want to educate people on how to eat better and live better,” she says. “If I could teach that and prevent other people from having diabetes or my dad’s diseases, that would make me very happy.”

While Lopez’s programme teaches what goes into promoting nutritional well-being, the MPH in Community Health focuses on the social and behavioural sciences in public health to teach students how to promote health in urban communities. CUNY SPH’s MPH in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences was designed for those who would rather dedicate their careers to recognising, analysing and controlling environmental and occupational threats to health.

Then, there’s the MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, which was brought to life to prepare students for careers in designing and conducting public health research before applying their findings to improve the health of populations. Like the rest of CUNY SPH’s students, those on this route are welcome to add value through funded projects and their school’s research centres and institutes.

CUNY SPH’s faculty members are all engaged in cutting-edge research. They are dedicated to providing their students with hands-on learning experiences and employment opportunities. MS students are no exception.

Opportunities abound for those who choose the MS in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences as well, which prepares students for careers in the growing field of Industrial Hygiene. The MS in Global and Migrant Health Policy equips professionals with the content expertise and research methods required to formulate and evaluate global and migrant health policies and programmes.

Ranita Campbell opted to pursue the MS in Health Communication for Social Change after the COVID-19 pandemic opened her eyes to the importance of conveying health-related information as effectively as possible. The fact that all of CUNY SPH’s graduate programmes offer online delivery made it easy for Campbell to keep her responsibilities as a full-time employee at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“Getting to interact with students from all over is interesting and cool because we’re all online, so I can talk to someone who is taking a class from California or classmates who are international and hear what public health looks like for them in their countries,” enthuses the student. Although still in her final semester, Campbell has already been promoted to Health Communications Specialist.

Outcomes like hers are made possible by the helpful team that makes up the Office of Career Services. Together, they provide unwavering support for students and alumni in need of career-related guidance. That’s not all. To ensure smooth academic journeys all around, CUNY SPH offers a wide range of student services that span financial aid, academic advising, tutoring, and wellness counselling.

If you do not currently reside in the US, take comfort in knowing this dynamic school warmly welcomes the idea of international students starting their programmes from their home countries before completing their qualification in bustling New York City. To bring improved health and social justice for all, click here to apply to CUNY SPH today.

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