The Feinberg School of Medicine hosts Northwestern’s Program in Public Health under the Department of Preventative Medicine. A few undergraduate students gathered in a room with Maureen Moran, the associate director of the program and a current MPH student to discuss the admission process as well as details of the program. Within the program, there are several different degree options—freestanding MPH, combined MPH/MD, combined MPH/PHD or Master of Science in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Many students with varying degree paths take classes together which proves for a diverse set of interests in the classroom. For those students who are enrolled in the freestanding MPH program, it is a part time program so many students continue their healthcare related job during the day and then take classes at night. Some of the classes that are offered are Behavior, Science and Health, Introduction to Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences and Introduction to Epidemiology.
The most intriguing part of the evening was the Master in Public Health 2010 Field Experience Poster Presentation. MPH students gathered around posters displaying elaborate research projects. Students spent about 200 hours doing service in the community with an organization of their choice and this was their opportunity to present their research. The field experience helps MPH students achieve interdisciplinary public health knowledge, which is important to the Northwestern curriculum. One student, Lauren Slubowski, a MPH/PHD student worked with the Student Health Force, a public health initiative aimed at improving the health and success of high school students through education, skill-building, and career development. Lauren said that the children’s health education, awareness and interest grew tremendously throughout the year. Laura Phillips, another student interviewed HIV-positive patients about smoking cessation in the Lending Hands for Life program at Humboldt Park’s Erie Family Health Center. She found that the HIV patients knew that smoking was bad for their health but had no great incentive to stop because of their current condition. Overall, I was impressed with the variety of research topics and the student’s continued dedication to their community organizations.