AN INTERVIEW WITH

Jan K. Carney, MD, MPH
Associate Dean for Public Health and Professor of Medicine at University of Vermont - University of Vermont

Jan K. Carney, MD, MPH, Associate Dean for Public Health and Professor of Medicine at the University of Vermont, joins us today to discuss public health.
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1. Can you tell us about the online MPH programs offered at The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at the University of Vermont?

The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree is a 42-credit online graduate program that helps students explore public health and policy issues while gaining a strong foundation in population health sciences. Our program leads to a Generalist MPH degree focused on excellence in environmental public health; quantitative public health sciences; and health policy, leadership, and advocacy.

2. How long does a typical online MPH program take at UVM? What is the maximum and minimum time of completion?

Full-time students can complete the program in two years. Part-time students (those enrolled in fewer than 9 credits per semester) have up to five years to complete the program. The MPH degree offers students another option for completing the program in one year, by beginning in the summer session.

3. What do you think makes UVM’s MPH stand out from other online MPH programs?

UVM is a leader in healthcare and environmental education. Our program is located in UVM’s Larner College of Medicine, and our affiliation with the University of Vermont Medical Center, Vermont’s only academic medical center, gives us access to a broad range of expertise in the areas of public health and health policy.

4. How important would you say accreditation is when choosing an online MPH program?

Accreditation ensures that your program meets specific standards in higher education.  The MPH program is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC). NEASC is the nation’s oldest regional accrediting association, and governs the high standards of all of the programs offered at the University of Vermont. In addition, we are seeking specific Council for Education in Public Health (CEPH) accreditation for our MPH program.

5. There is some debate as to whether or not online MPH degrees are as worthwhile as traditional MPH degrees. What steps does UVM take to ensure that online students are receiving the same education that they’d receive in a classroom?

Actually, with the growth and availability of new teaching technologies, our experience is that many students find substantial advantages in the online MPH environment. They have the flexibility to work while completing their studies. In addition, they have the benefit of being able to find relevant public health experiences, as a part of the curriculum, wherever they live and not just in the physical location of the academic program. Students are generally more engaged in online learning and our faculty are creative and experienced teachers!

6. What are the advantages to earning a MPH degree in general?

Public health courses provide expertise in sciences immediately relevant to both health care and public health practice. Whether you want to learn more about public health or seek a new career in healthcare, research, or public health, an MPH program can help further your goals.

Our program is designed for health professionals in all disciplines, including:

-Medical and public health professionals

-Researchers

-Graduate students

-Others who wish to increase their knowledge in public health

In addition to enhancing careers in public health practice and the health professions, our program also prepares graduates for advanced study at the doctoral level.

7. Does UVM offer job placement for students who graduate in public health?

We have an advising system in our program designed to support students that starts as soon as they are accepted. Many of our graduates are immediately using their degree in a variety of public health and health care employment settings.

8. What type of financial aid packages are available for students in public health? Are there any fellowships, grants and scholarships available?

Financial aid options are available for students enrolled in a master’s degree program. The University of Vermont Student Financial Services website includes details about potential financial aid resources and financing options for the MPH program. A completed FAFSA form is required.

9. Do you have any advice for students enrolling in an online MPH program for the first time?

Don’t be afraid of the online environment. You will meet many engaging faculty experts and learn from a community of your peers. If you have never taken a public health course before, I think you’ll find it to be one of the most fascinating and relevant fields of study available today.

10. What do you enjoy most about your position at UVM?

As a professor of medicine and associate dean for public health here at the UVM Larner College of Medicine, I enjoy opportunities to link today’s challenges in health care with priorities for public health. Examples include preventing obesity and other chronic conditions, ensuring access to health care, and recognizing that many other factors such as housing, education, employment, and the availability of nutritious food are all foundations for good health. Learning about policy and advocacy is also an important part of our program and crucial to health improvements in many areas. Gaining a population perspective from the study of public health affords students the opportunity to develop the academic and practical skills needed to really make a difference in health, whether in communities, states, or entire countries. I especially enjoy my roles in teaching and advising, public health practice, and promoting the success of our graduates.

Thank you Dr. Carney, for sharing and participating in this piece.

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