College of Public Health Curriculum

The focus of the curriculum and activities provided by the College of Public Health will be on introducing students to the discipline and preparing them to pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH), which is recognized globally as the primary practice degree. The public health track combines readings, videos, and lectures with interactive classroom activities and hands-on assignments (for example, an outbreak investigation or analysis of the social determinants of a health problem). Public health is an interdisciplinary field made up of a broad array of professionals with backgrounds in clinical health services, epidemiology, health policy and management, psychology, environmental and occupational health, maternal and child health, social work, nutrition, law and many other fields. Public health practitioners unite in a common goal of promoting health, preventing disease and injury, protecting the environment, and assuring optimal health services. 

Careers in Public Health: Presentations will be given to introduce students to the field of public health and its sub-disciplines. These sessions will provide participants with the broad range of career paths available in public health. Public health practitioners, College of Public Health faculty, and lay health leaders from the community will provide presentations. There will also be discussion on the process, including deciding what area of public health might be the best fit, combined degree options (e.g., MD/MPH, PharmD/MPH), and the application process, among others. 

Visits to Public Health Agencies: During the summer session students will visit the Johnson County Health Department and the Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory. These visits provide an opportunity to learn about the services provided, understand their role in local and state public health, and to interact with personnel. 

Individual Advising Sessions: Throughout the six-week program public health faculty will meet with scholars for individual and group advising sessions. Sessions will focus on creating an academic and extracurricular plan to strengthen the student’s application to the MPH program. These sessions will also provide the opportunity to discuss the summer program in general, potential mentoring opportunities.  

Conversations with SHPEP Public Health Alumni: The curriculum includes conversations with previous SHPEP participants who have gone on to pursue an MPH or PhD in public health. They will provide scholars with insights into possible educational and career pathways.