Published: January 17, 2008
The University of Tampa will begin offering a bachelor’s degree program
in public health, designed for students interested in the improvement
of population health and prevention of disease and disability.
The major, which resides in the UT department of exercise science and sport studies, focuses on:
- identifying social and behavioral determinants of health;
- developing and evaluating interventions and policies leading to the improvement of population health; and,
- preparing professionals for leadership positions in advocacy and public health service.
Rebecca Olsen, assistant professor of allied health, exercise science
and sport sciences, said there are two major highlights of the new
public health program.
First, UT is the first academic
institution in the Tampa Bay area to improve the capacity of public
health at the undergraduate level.
“The field is thriving, not
only in this country but around the world,” Olsen said. “Knowledge and
opportunities in the field are exploding. The work of public health has
expanded from infectious disease control to chronic disease, mental
health issues, terrorist threats, and improved population-based health
in the global community. The development of this program confirms the
commitment that UT has to every student.”
Second, according to
Olsen, the field of public health is extremely broad and encompasses a
variety of careers. Therefore, the UT public health curriculum draws
from a broad range of disciplines.
“Public health majors are
required to take classes in such areas as epidemiology, biostatistics,
social sciences, and communications,” Olsen said. “And, because
successful public health efforts must be led by those who can mobilize,
coordinate and direct collaborative actions within complex systems, the
students will receive intense coursework in quality management and
Steve Kucera, dean of the College of Natural and
Health Sciences, said he is pleased to have someone of Dr. Olsen’s
caliber leading this new program. He expects this program to generate a
great deal of interest among University undergraduates who are thinking
about a possible career path in this field.
students will be encouraged to pursue interdisciplinary coursework at
UT including courses in adolescent health, women’s health, gerontology,
biology, environmental science, criminology, international and cultural
studies, urban studies, Latin American studies, psychology, sociology,
communication or research methods.
Upon completion of the
program, students will be qualified for graduate studies and/or
leadership roles in public and private organizations. These
organizations may include hospitals, group practices, community health
centers, and community-based nonprofit organizations, public and
private corporations, foundations, workplaces, schools, colleges, and
local, state and federal public health agencies.
successfully complete the public health degree program are also
eligible to take the national certification exam to become Certified
Health Education Specialists.