University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: Public health major evolves into 'Public Health Global Health' degree

Public health major evolves into 'Public Health Global Health' degree

07/23/2018
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The University of Washington School of Public Health’s popular public health major has been renamed the “Public Health—Global Health Major” to better reflect its domestic and global competencies. The change, approved recently by UW President Ana Mari Cauce, takes effect immediately.

“The name change better reflects the emphasis on global health that exists within the major, as well as the multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to population health that the program has had since its inception,” said Sara Mackenzie, director of the undergraduate program and senior lecturer in health services.

The rebrand also aligns with the School’s vision of creating “healthy people in sustainable communities – locally, nationally and globally,” Mackenzie said, as well as the University’s Population Health Initiative, which seeks to advance the health of people around the world. The new name for the major also indicates the faculty’s vast domestic and overseas experience.

In addition to the general track, students will now be able to choose one of three options: global health, health education and promotion, or nutritional sciences. New course sequences will allow for deeper dives into those areas and will include upper-level courses such as health economics and global mental health.

“The evolution of the major will prepare students to meet the needs of the modern age,” said Jennifer Slyker, associate director of the major and an assistant professor of global health and adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology. “People are going to graduate from this program with a wide range of knowledge and skills to help build healthier populations.”

The health education and promotion option (a BA degree) is designed so that successful students can meet the competency requirements for the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®) examination, which allows students to work in health education with a bachelor’s degree.

The nutritional sciences option (a BS degree) is a robust foundation in natural sciences and nutrition-focused public health fundamentals, as well as a pathway for graduate education in nutrition and dietetics.

Global health (a BA degree) is a liberal arts approach for those who want a more intensive look into the field and are interested in international work. Students will become familiar with policy issues in global health and will be able to discuss the determinants of global health and global responses to health problems, including health systems.

The public health major moved to the School of Public Health in March 2012 from the Individualized Studies program within the UW College of Arts and Sciences. Since then, it has grown from 80 students to about 500 undergraduates. Coursework ranges from anthropology and biostatistics to geography and psychology. Students are trained to think critically and view issues through a public health lens.