Hiram College will offer a new public health degree program this fall. The program, through which students can either major or minor in public health, merges the college’s liberal arts curriculum with this emerging field of preventative medicine and health promotion.
This type of undergraduate degree is rare, according to Christopher Mundorf, MPH, Ph.D., who heads the new department. Mundorf explains that most undergraduate public health programs are offered at large universities, where students are mostly limited to courses taught in crowded and impersonal lecture halls.
“Among the few liberal arts colleges that have begun similar programs, few can compete with Hiram’s reputation for experiential learning, which offers study-away opportunities, internships and practical research,” Mundorf says.
Hiram Public Health students will immerse themselves in learning the science of disease and health, while mastering the skills that will lead to a career in helping others through communication, research, planning and advocacy. They will also be able to build upon their classroom experiences by designing research and creating projects that seek to address the major public health issues of our time.
“The need for this flexible, career-focused program is huge, as students will have the tools to give back to various communities and work in one of the additional 250,000 public health jobs needed in the U.S. by 2020,” Mundorf says.
Whether students are interested in the relationship between socio-economic issues and human health, how to communicate and work with outreach programs, or enter a hard science-based career, they will find something that suits them. Concentrations within the major include: public health biology, environmental health, health communication, health systems, health research, and health and fitness. The curriculum will prepare students for graduate school or entry-level jobs within diverse sectors since the program offers specialty tracks and combines a variety of disciplines.
“I love giving back and helping communities flourish by … bringing awareness to health disparities communities face. With the new public health major, I’ll be able to do this,” says Hiram College junior Timothy Hatfield of Cleveland, who plans to transfer into the new program.