The University of Missouri is introducing a new four year program in the field of Public Health. Students who obtain a bachelor’s diploma are able to work in the health field without having to have an advanced degree, or be a medical doctor or nurse.
Doctor Michelle Teti with the M.U. School of Health Professionals says graduates work in communities, hospitals and health agencies in a wide range of disciplines. “The way I like to explain public health is that doctors treat people who are sick. Public Health practitioners try to prevent people from getting sick or hurt in the first place, and try to continue to promote wellness by encouraging healthy behavior.”
MIZZOU’s implementing the program in response to student demand as well as a need for public health professionals in Missouri and across the country. Teti notes the program will fill a void for students who are attracted to the health field, but who may not want to pursue education beyond obtaining a four year degree. “Certainly lots of people have an interest in medicine, but not in being a clinician” said Teti. “Public health is really about creating system in the environment so that you can operate in a healthy way.”
Teti says students who obtain a degree will complement the clinical work of doctors and nurses by dealing with policy and prevention. “For example obesity is a chronic health problem everywhere. Doctors are treating the consequences of obesity. Public Health practitioners are working to develop exercise or education campaigns.”
Students can specialize their focus to work in fields such as disease tracking, health education, environmental health and disaster preparedness. Teti says the average salary of a Public Health professional is $47,000, with upward mobility readily available.
University of Missouri Curators voted to approve a proposal from its School of Health Professions to create a Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) in Public Health degree. The program will be implemented after the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education gives final approval.
M.U. is the only public institution within 300 miles to offer a Public Health bachelor’s degree. The only other Missouri school with a similar program is St. Louis University.