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College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Launches Master of Public Health Degree Program

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at St. John’s University has launched a Master of Public Health degree program to meet the growing demand for well-trained professionals to address the complex issues and conditions that affect human health here and abroad.

With official New York State Education Department approval, the University is accepting applications for Fall 2013 admission to the program.

“We are delighted to have added the MPH degree to the many other outstanding programs of study offered by the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences,” said Robert A. Mangione, EdD, RPh, provost. “We look forward to the significant contributions that faculty members and students associated with this program will make to enhancing health care in our great city, the nation, and the world.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public health professionals are in high demand. The nation faces increasing non-communicable diseases, rising health care costs, and health disparities. Globally, public health professionals are needed to address potential pandemics, environmental hazards, and disasters. Public health professionals focus on promoting wellness and disease prevention. They also help plan, monitor, evaluate, and increase access to health care.

“The approval of the Master of Public Health program by the New York State Education Department is an exciting and challenging development for the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences,” said S. William Zito, PhD, acting dean for the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. “It gives us the opportunity to develop trained public health professionals with expertise in preventable health conditions, public health analysis, and the global dimensions of public health.”

The 45-credit program, leading to a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, offers two areas of concentration— community health and global health—and is built to meet the educational demands of both recent graduates and current professionals. “The public health program at St. John’s is different from other programs, in that it captures the spirit of the University’s Vincentian values,” said Wenchen Wu, PhD, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Administration and Allied Health Sciences.

Heather Mavronicolas, MPH, PhD, is the program’s director. She joined the University in October 2012. According to Wu, her extensive background in public health, health systems management, and global health will provide students with a broad understanding of public health practice and research, both in the U.S. and abroad.

“I’m very excited to lead this program in its effort to promote and protect public health through education, research and service,” said Mavronicolas. “The program’s dynamic curriculum will prepare students to serve as leaders in public health and face current and emerging public health challenges.”

She added that the University’s Vincentian tradition is an especially strong aspect of the program. “It’s a tradition that will empower individuals to work with both local and global communities to improve health and promote effective solutions to global and regional public health problems,” she said.

Before her appointment, Mavronicolas was director of quality management and special projects for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's HIV Care, Treatment, and Housing Program. Mavronicolas holds a PhD in Health Systems Management from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine; an MPH from the University of Sydney School of Public Health, Australia; and a BA in International Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on collaborative practice among HIV providers and health disparities.