New Master of Global Health Offered by College of Health and Human Services

Posted: October 6, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Marjorie Musick

Students who want to improve the lives of people around the globe now have a new degree option — the College of Health and Human Services’ Master of Science in Global Health.

The program covers the fundamentals of epidemiology, environmental health, global health policies and sociocultural influences on health and behavior. The new degree replaces the Master of Science in Health Science with a concentration in global health.

Forty-five participants are currently enrolled in the inaugural class, which is offered through the Department of Global and Community Health.

“The rationale was for the students to be better equipped to market themselves in a variety of areas under the umbrella of global health,” says Allan Weiss, manager for the Department of Global Health.

“The curriculum exposes students to a variety of cultural and multidisciplinary environments in the nonprofit, governmental and business sectors in order to prepare them for this demanding profession.”

With the District of Columbia headquarters of the World Bank, Project Hope, the Pan American Health Organization and the United States Public Health Service less than an hour away from the Fairfax Campus, Mason’s proximity provides access to a smorgasbord of international health agencies at which students can conduct their required practicum fieldwork and find employment after graduation.

“The practicum bridges a student’s academic world with their professional life and allows them to show off who they are and what they have learned,” says Weiss. “A lot of our students want to go abroad and make positive changes in the world. This combination of training and hands-on experience prepares them to be effective leaders on the global front.”

Weiss notes that there is increasing demand for well-trained public health professionals who can address the changing context of global health challenges, including complex and persistent health problems, increasing health inequities and new and emerging diseases.

According to a 2006 World Health Organization report, an estimated 2,360,000 health service providers and 1,890,000 management support workers are needed immediately.

“As this workforce shortage increases, a greater number of global health positions — such as epidemiologists, public health advisors, behavioral scientists, biologists, microbiologists and medical officers — will be available to graduates of this program,” says Weiss.

“With emerging diseases like avian flu and dengue fever, it is the global health graduates who are conducting the studies and crunching the numbers. This field is of extreme importance, and the jobs are definitely out there.”

For more information, contact Weiss or visit the program’s web site.

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