UC Berkeley: Moulding tomorrow’s public health professionals

The world’s healthcare systems are under intensifying pressure.

The number of people aged 65 or over is projected to increase from six percent to 16 percent by 2050, according to data by the United Nations. Life expectancy at age 65 is also increasing. Meanwhile, data from the Brookings Institute found that the middle class is the world’s largest and most rapidly growing segment of demand, projected to reach 5.3 billion people by 2030.

Both factors will fuel demand for healthcare resources and services. More long-term care and chronic disease management services will be required by a rapidly increasing senior population. And with growing urbanisation and more sedentary lifestyles, costly health conditions are on the rise, such as obesity and diabetes.

At the same time, the rapid advance of technology is creating new opportunities to do things previously unthinkable in this field.

For healthcare professionals, what all these means is there’s never been a better time to advance careers and make contributions to this important field.

With a Master’s in Public Health from the University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley), graduates can do both of these and more.

UC Berkeley School of Public Health dean said: “I believe public health can be a greater force for good in the world, but not by doing more of the same.”

His aim for the School is “to be where the next generation’s biggest thinkers and difference-makers, the most effective change agents, and the most transformative leaders come from.”

An unparallelled academic experience

Dean Lu’s vision is not too far off from reality. Expert faculty, quality teaching and state-of-the-art facilities already make UC Berkeley well-known as the place where the next generation of public health experts are developed.

UC Berkeley has a reputation that precedes it and its performance in global rankings backs this up. It is ranked joint 13th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 and came in fourth for US News & World Report Best Global Universities Rankings.

At the forefront of the public health industry

UC Berkeley’s MPH, accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), is delivered on-campus and online.

Its online Masters of Public Health stands out for many reasons. But chief among them is the convenience for working professionals to gain an MPH degree without taking time off from their jobs.

Online MPH students spend 15 days on campus during the programme, with one visit in the summer of Year 1 and a second visit in the summer of Year 2.

These visits as well as an array of professional networking opportunities at their fingertips ensure students will still be able to enjoy a palpable sense of belonging at the university.

Many students in this programme are mid-career public health professionals, which means they bring thought-provoking, real-life case studies to discussions and a wealth of professional connections to the programme.

Meanwhile, expert faculty help students develop their understanding of and skills in core areas of public health, including biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, social and behavioral science and health services management.

Under the programme, students will take six core courses which provides them with a foundation in the concepts and competencies relevant to addressing determinants of health, using both qualitative and data-driven approaches. These subjects include Health and Social Behavior, Introduction to Environmental Health Science, Health Policy and Management, Introduction to Probability and Statistics, Epidemiologic Methods and Interdisciplinary Seminar.

The Health Policy and Management concentration is ideal for professionals from across a range of healthcare areas, including hospitals and health systems, pharma/biotech, medical devices, health insurers, government agencies, think tanks, consulting firms and digital health. From clinicians to managers to policy leaders, this is a course that would advance their careers or help them pivot into the into this sub-field.

For the greater good

A strong focus on social justice and health equity underpins all course taught at UC Berkeley. The MPH is no exemption.

For instance, students can specialise in areas of study such as Health Policy and Management, Community Health Sciences, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Spatial Data Science and Global Health.

Epidemiology is a highly relevant specialisation as it pertains to the safety of the masses. The current coronavirus pandemic showed just how dependent we are on professionals in this area. This course will prepare students to contribute in future outbreaks like this with a foundation in the concepts of biology and molecular biology of host-pathogen interactions. In addition, they will explore the global standards of health practice, product regulation, and public health innovation too.

That’s not all – an online degree MPH prepares graduates to immediately apply their newfound knowledge and skills in the workplace and communities. An emphasis on strong project-based learning under the mentorship of Berkeley faculty makes this possible.

What about professional aspirations? How does UC Berkeley help its students advance their careers?

To understand how the university aids students in this aspect, one only need to look at the suite of services and resources available for online MPH students and alumni.

They have access to one-on-one career counselling, workshops and special events, online training webinars, to name just a few. UC Berkeley has a dynamic student network and career resources designed for the needs of working professionals from any part of the world. Many opportunities are available to connect one’s learning with professional development.

All these factors combine to effectively enhance one’s competitiveness in the job market. By the end of the programme, graduates will have the skills to make an effective and sustainable impact as leaders in local, national and international organisations.

With all these in hand, UC Berkeley’s online MPH is sure to open up new academic and professional opportunities.

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