Impact Lives

Why a Master of Public Health?

Public health is a field which needs and welcomes people from diverse educational and experiential backgrounds. Diversity really is at the heart of public health because the knowledge and skills you have before will be enhanced by your MPH education and applied with a different focus after you graduate. The Master of Public Health degree provides a common language and framework so that all can work together.

The broad mission of public health is to “enhance health in human populations, through organized community effort” (Council on Education for Public Health, 1978) and to fulfill “society’s interest in assuring conditions in which persons can be healthy” (The Future of Public Health, 1988).

Public health engages both private and public organizations and individuals in accomplishing this mission. Responsibilities encompass preventing epidemics and the spread of disease, protecting against environmental hazards, preventing injuries, encouraging healthy behavior, helping communities to recover from disasters, and ensuring the quality and accessibility of health services.

The core functions of public health include assessment, policy development, and assurance that public health services are provided to the community (The Future of Public Health, 1988).

Environmental health, occupational health and safety, mental health, and substance abuse are integral parts of public health. Service providers, such as managed care organizations, hospitals, nonprofit corporations, schools, faith organizations, and businesses, also are an integral part of the public health infrastructure in many communities (Healthy People 2010).

The Essential Services of Public Health (Public Health Functions Project, 1995)

  • Monitor health status to identify community health problems
  • Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community
  • Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues
  • Mobilize community partnerships to identify and solve health problems
  • Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts
  • Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety
  • Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable
  • Assure a competent public health and personal health care workforce
  • Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services
  • Research for new insights and innovative solutions to health problems

Master of Public Health Program Vision

The Vision of the MPH Program is to be the first choice for those interested in practicing real world – real time public health. The faculty includes experienced practitioners who take a personal interest in each student and create a professional learning environment through teaching, research and service. Graduates of the program make significant contributions to the field of public health in a variety of settings. 

Master of Public Health Program Mission

The Mission of the MPH Program is to prepare graduate students to enhance the health in human populations through organized community effort. The Program’s mission is carried out within the context of the mission of Benedictine University. Benedictine University is an inclusive academic community dedicated to teaching and learning, scholarship and service, truth and justice, as inspired by the Catholic intellectual tradition, the social teaching of the Church, and the principles of wisdom in the Rule of St. Benedict.

Master of Public Health Program Philosophy & History

Recognizing that the most desirable students are often the most professionally committed, the MPH program is designed for the working adult. Classes are offered in evenings and on weekends. The design of the program at Benedictine University reflects the growing research on adult learning styles. The program puts that research into practice. In particular, the curriculum is designed by faculty members who are mindful that adult learners:

  • Need to know why they need to know something before they are willing to invest time and energy into learning it
  • Are task oriented and therefore will learn best in context
  • are experienced and need to be allowed to participate and show their strengths
  • Have a deep need to be self-directing and assume responsibility for their own learning
  • Desire mastery of new subjects and learning opportunities

We believe that knowledge, skills, and abilities are best learned through a variety of experiences including lecture, oral presentation, written communication, discussion groups, team projects, research projects, service projects, independent study, experiential learning, and the internship/capstone experience. Each method enables students to understand issues from different perspectives. The Program has adopted the set of competencies developed by the Association of Schools of Public Health in 2006 as the primary measure against which student achievement is measured. The MPH curriculum, course learning objectives, and internship/capstone experience reflect the importance of the MPH Competencies as the essential outcome of the student’s graduate education in public health at Benedictine University.