University of West Florida health program “a national template of excellence”

University of West Florida | news@uwf.edu

The University of West Florida’s Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is currently featured on the Council on Education for Public Health’s (CEPH) website as an example of best practices for online programs in public health.

UWF’s MPH degree is only the second fully online program in the nation to be accredited by the CEPH. It has also been referred to as a guide by which other institution’s programs are built.

“Our MPH program is really a template of excellence,” said George Stewart, chair of the biology department at UWF. “It gives the university national stature and it makes us visible throughout the public health community, both nationally and internationally.”

Because the degree is online, UWF is able to teach students in remote corners of the globe.

More than 50 percent of professionals currently in the field are projected to retire in the next 10 years, increasing the need for graduates of the program.

“The MPH degree is currently the most recognized credential in the public health job market,” said Stewart. “All public health facilities in the world recognize the value of the degree.”

The university has partnerships with regional, national and even international hospitals to place interns and graduates in the real world in order to further their knowledge and hone their specific skills. UWF students and graduates are working right now in hospitals across the nation and in places like Turkey, Guam and Japan.

“Health care is important anywhere and everywhere,” said Stewart. “Public health problems in the U.S. and abroad have increased demand for a flexible, holistic program like ours.”

The program has found a large audience with the military as well. Members of the armed forces serving in other countries will often turn to a program such as this to further their education, as public health degrees are in large demand with the military as well.

“Our master’s degree is really a trifecta of health services,” said Stewart. “We are able to educate and contribute to public health, healthcare and the military.”

One hundred and eighty internship hours are required to complete the program, a feature that is praised by the CEPH. “An integral part of the curriculum, in addition to didactic courses, is the Internship in Public Health, which provides opportunities for students in the program to identify and submit for approval a suitable public health host agency in their geographic region for practical experience,” says the CEPH website.

“The need for healthcare never decreases,” said Stewart. “It never gets less important. The degree and career that follows promises job longevity, consistency and a resistance to any recession.”

UWF is committed to the region it serves, affording opportunity and access to higher education for those working toward a better future. By providing cutting edge resources for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, the university is remaining relevant and useful in today’s ever-changing learning environment.

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