PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — To provide a tailored academic program for clinicians and health professionals seeking to expand their scope of expertise from patients to population health, Brown University is launching a new accelerated master of public health degree.
The one-year School of Public Health program, which is now accepting applicants, is intended for medical professionals who already hold doctoral degrees in health care fields as well as those who have completed at least two years of medical school.
Annie Gjelsvik, director of the school’s traditional master of public health program, said the accelerated MPH for clinician program is built to meet the growing need for clinicians with public health knowledge and experience.
“The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the incredible importance of public health,” Gjelsvik said. “There has also been increased interest in public health education and finding ways to incorporate public health into medical practice in health care. As the field continues to gain attention, the methods and curricula by which Brown teaches public health must also evolve. The accelerated version of our MPH program is designed to complement the existing expertise of clinicians while transforming them into public health experts and leaders.”
Dr. Scott Rivkees, a professor of the practice of health services, policy and practice at Brown, will serve as associate director of the accelerated MPH program.
“The program will enrich the field of public health by bringing in more professionals who have diverse health care backgrounds,” Rivkees said. “At the same time, the program allows health care professionals to expand their scope of practice by bringing public health to their field. Further, the program is designed to strengthen health care professionals’ research skills and leadership experience.”
Unlike the traditional two-year MPH program, the accelerated program is designed to be completed in a single year, starting with an online session in July. The remainder of the curriculum consists of eight courses taught in-person in the fall and spring semesters, with students completing degree requirements in time to graduate in May.
In addition to four core MPH courses, the program will include five new offerings, including an online Leadership and Communication course led by Rivkees. In helping to develop the course, Rivkees said he drew from his experience as the former state surgeon general of Florida during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One of the things that became apparent while working in that role and interacting with other public health officers was how critical advanced training in leadership and communication is in times of crisis,” Rivkees said. “Those in leadership positions in hospital systems or departments of health may interact with countless employees as well as with the public. They need to be able to communicate and lead to in a way that is not only engaging but also builds trust. In this course, students will hone leadership and communication skills essential for success in public health.”
The accelerated program will take into account students’ prior and current clinical experiences and allow them to complete a practicum at a clinical health care setting that matches their interests.
In addition, accelerated MPH students will take an integrated learning experience course that offers the opportunity to synthesize their public health skills and experiences in a capstone project.
By the end of the program, Rivkees said, students will have developed competencies in fundamental areas of public health action and research.
“This program will provide clinicians with training in basic public health knowledge, skills and application, and put them on a path where they will be able to contribute to public health in a meaningful way, linking public health to their disciplines,” Rivkees said.
The first cohort will begin in Summer 2023. Additional information on the accelerated MPH program is available at https://mph.sph.brown.edu/accelerated-mph.