Utah's Next Drought
May 15, 2008
Public Health Professionals
From outbreaks to common injuries, public health professionals are needed throughout the country to assist with disease prevention and promotion of health in society.
A Well Going Dry
Over the centuries, the greatest gains in life expectancies have been made through public health advancements, including immunization programs, safe water efforts and good sanitary practices. Notwithstanding the numerous technological advances, Benjamin Franklin's statement "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" still rings true.
The U.S. is experiencing a growing shortage of public health professionals to deal with these issues, and Utah is no exception. With fewer and fewer people pursuing public health careers, there is concern that there will not be enough people to perform day-to-day functions, much less respond when disaster strikes.
According to the Utah Department of Health, approximately 50 percent of the Utah public health work force will reach retirement age within the next five years. Public health touches our lives every day in hundreds of ways we take for granted, and with its aging and limited work force, Utahns have cause for concern.
Educating and maintaining an optimal public health work force is the best insurance against disease and the most critical factor in meeting the health challenges of the 21st century. With the increase in new diseases, reemergence of historic diseases, the threat of bioterrorism, and increased immigration, there will be an even greater demand on the public health work force than previously seen.
Numerous government agencies and non-government organizations, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Public Health Service) and the Institute of Medicine, strongly support innovation in public health education. Such innovation may include developing associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, and certificate programs while expanding traditional and non-traditional master's degree programs. Several institutions of higher education in Utah are helping to address this need, but Westminster College is the only institution that offers both a certificate in public health as well as a master's degree in an executive format.
Westminster College would like to congratulate Dr. George L. White Jr., PhD on winning the 2007 Utah Best of State Award for College/University Teacher. Dr. White is the new director of Westminster's public health program.
Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, a unique environment for learning distinguishes Westminster College. Westminster prepares students for success through active and engaged learning, real world experiences and its vibrant campus community. Its unique location, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains and to the dynamic city of Salt Lake, further enriches the college experience.
Westminster now offers two new public health programs. The Westminster Master of Public Heath (MPH) and Certificate in Public Health programs emphasize the essentials for public health practice in the 21st century. The programs are taught in an executive format: core courses will be offered every two weeks on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the semester and some faculty-designated courses are offered online. For the public health professional, the MPH degree is recognized internationally. Westminster is currently accepting applications for Fall 2008. For more information, visit www.westminstercollege.edu/mph.