Why we need global co-operation more than ever: Colleges tackling the health challenges of tomorrow

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How do you prevent the spread of a disease that has infected over 18 million people, caused around 600,000 deaths (and counting) and paralysed economies?

In labs, national parliaments, board rooms, hospitals, the answer is clear: Collaboration.

Today we are seeing public health professionals, epidemiologists, scientists, politicians, business professionals and medical personnel focus simultaneously on COVID-19. Doctors from China flew to Italy in March bringing medical equipment. Developers are producing online teaching content about COVID-19, helping doctors and nurses in the developing world from unrelated specialisms. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is crowdsourcing what hospitals are learning, asking for anonymised COVID-19 patient records.

There are forces erecting barriers on the flipside, but public health experts know better. To slow and stop the spread of this virus, collaboration between people, industries and countries is key.

Yet for this dream scenario to become reality, the US needs agile and practical public health leaders. Universities play an outsized role in moulding the future generation that can work together efficiently, communicate appropriately and contain this pandemic.

The stakes have never been higher. Advance your public health qualification and start making a difference at these four US universities:


The College of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University sits at the important intersection of public health and medicine. The College’s Master of Public Health (MPH) program, accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), offers special one-year (accelerated) programs tailored to meet the needs of future healthcare practitioners. Students acquire strong research and policy skills that prepares them to make a difference at the patient’s side and in the community.

US colleges

Source: Thomas Jefferson

TOP, the Time Out Program, is a one-year pathway designed for medical students who are looking to augment their medical training and prepare to lead research, policy, or advocacy endeavours in residency and practice. TOP students spend a year with the College, and take courses in the accelerated MPH program and return to complete medical school to complete their clinical training.

LEAP, Leadership in Evidence, Application and Practice program, is a one-year pathway designed to pre-med and pre-health professional students with an opportunity to use their “gap year” to earn an MPH degree.

The Jefferson MPH program is interdisciplinary and focuses on real world public health challenges. It places emphasis on research, healthcare quality and safety, leadership, systems thinking, health communication, global health, health equity, and disease prevention.

There is a host of structured activities to augment classroom learning, such as special lecture series, journal club, community service and an enhanced field experience. Additionally, students work closely with faculty to design and complete an independent research or thesis project on a topic of their choice.

Known as “the Jefferson advantage”, whichever path you take to completion — accelerated (TOP or LEAP), part-time, dual-degree — Jefferson’s distinctive, active, collaborative, real-world curriculum prepares students to make a difference in the healthcare space and in the community.

Ready to make an impact? Click here to find out more from a virtual graduate session today.


At the University of Washington (UW) School of Public Health, students aim to produce global solutions to combat public health concerns such as clean air and water, disease prevention, depression, obesity and more.

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To cater to everyone’s academic interests, topics are spread across five departments: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Global Health, Health Services and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

Within each department, some students and professors take their research efforts the extra mile.

For instance, UW Global Health Assistant Professor Kenneth Mugwanya and his research team recently received a five-year, US$3 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to test the effectiveness of integrating methods of HIV prevention into sexual and reproductive health services for women in Kenya.

UW graduate student Juan Osorio-Valencia secured a Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship to investigate how affordable technology helps decontaminate water at areas where vulnerable communities live.


If you take a tour around the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, you’ll find students who aim to identify, analyse, and intervene in today’s most pressing public health issues.

US colleges

Source: Emory University

Hence why faculty, students, and alumni are actively engaged in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic with regular online webinars and ongoing research. Assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology Samuel Jenness is honing the software package EpiModel that specializes in representing dynamic human contact networks to expand its applicability to a wide range of users,, including those modelling COVID-19.

University researchers were also awarded a US$6.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to launch COVIDVu, a national study that will use home tests to develop estimates of the current number of COVID-19 infections and persons with antibody response nationally and across seven heavily impacted states.

Degrees that help students contribute to future crises in this vein are the Master’s of Public Health (MPH) with specialisations in environmental health, epidemiology, and health policy, and the Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in which students can specialise in biostatistics and health services research.

All MPH and MSPH students are also required to complete an integrative learning experience in addition to the applied practice experience.


At the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, there is a dynamic range of graduate programmes for those aspiring for a healthier world with compassion, innovation and inclusion.

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Students can pick a Master of Public Health (MPH) which is the traditional degree required by statute for public health professionals working in certain classifications in many areas. For working professionals, the online MPH and online Master of Science in Population and Health Sciences offer world-class public health training, with the flexibility of an online programme.

Both provide a broad foundational curriculum. Students will be able to tackle complex health issues such as chronic and infectious diseases, obesity and food insecurity, health care quality and costs, climate change and environmental determinants of health, and socioeconomic inequalities and their impact on health, by the time they graduate.

Those aspiring to leadership positions in the administration, management, and planning of health services in public and private setting should consider the Master of Health Services Administration (MHSA). The MHSA focuses on the organisation, financing, marketing, and management of health care systems.

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