In partnership with Cleveland's MetroHealth System, Baldwin Wallace University has created a Master of Public Health degree and is seeking approval for the program.
It is Ohio's first proposed graduate program jointly developed by an academic institution and health system with a goal of reducing health disparities, according to a news release.
If approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the program could begin in fall 2016. The first cohort of students would be all MetroHealth employees, but the long-term goal is to see a mix of MetroHealth employees and traditional post-baccalaureate students enrolling in the program.
“This new master's degree in public health will equip graduates with the skills to improve health across culturally diverse communities, reduce health disparities and implement evidence-based prevention strategies," said Dr. Akram Boutros, MetroHealth president and CEO, in a statement. "That means people of all races, income levels and zip codes can expect the same good health and the bright future that comes with it. And Cuyahoga County can, too."
The program aims to educate the public health care workforce on leading-edge approaches to disease prevention and health care management. Students will learn leadership focused on serving others and design a capstone project to address current issues.
The Institutes of Medicine and U.S. Health and Human Services both have called for the integration of primary care and public health.
“We take seriously our responsibility to serve the Greater Cleveland community and we believe this proposed program will have a profound impact as we educate graduates who are dedicated to improving the lives of real people in Northeast Ohio and beyond," said Robert C. Helmer, president of Baldwin Wallace, in a statement.
The employment opportunity for public health professionals is expected to grow by more than 20% during the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The interdisciplinary public health master's program would draw on expertise from the BW School of Health Sciences, School of Business and School of Education. BW professors and MetroHealth providers would teach classes on Saturdays at MetroHealth Medical Center.
BW faculty representatives worked to identify the expertise needed in future public health professionals by collaborating with practitioners and potential employers from MetroHealth as well as the Cuyahoga, Lorain and Summit County boards of health and other providers. The curriculum was designed to meet the gaps between workforce skill sets and market demands.