Thursday, May 26, 2011

Loyola Graduates First Class of its New Online Master of Public Health Program

Curriculum focuses on addressing racial, economic health disparities in the U.S.

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Loyola University Chicago (LUC) has graduated the first class of its online public health master’s degree program. Jeff Andretich, Paul Zemaitis, Michelle Johnson, Brittany Garlenski and Cliff Li are the leading edge of a program that is specifically designed to give graduates all the tools needed to assist in tackling racial and economic health-care disparities in the United States. “I think we have been extremely fortunate to have such excellent students representing our program the past two years,” said Dr. Holly J. Kramer, director of the program. “Each one exemplifies both professionally and personally our mission to reduce economic health-care disparities in underserved communities.” The program began in 2009 and is based at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill. It draws faculty and resources from other departments and institutions within LUC. Those include the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy and the School of Social Work from Loyola’s Water Tower and Lakeshore campuses, the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and Stritch’s Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics & Health Policy and its Department of Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology. The program brings together a diverse group of physicians, faculty, medical students and community leaders to address health-care disparities through public health research, clinical practice and advocacy. Its curriculum focuses on the law and public health, biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health-care administration, ethics and social and behavioral health. “Multidisciplinary faculty from all three campuses with training or interest in public health are all involved with teaching and mentoring our students,” said Kramer, who is also an associate professor of medicine in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology and the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. “These all contribute to the professional development of our students.” To earn their degrees, students must demonstrate the ability to apply and integrate the skills and knowledge they learned by completing practicum training and capstone projects. This year’s graduating class successfully did so by participating in projects to reduce youth violence, promote adolescent health and evaluate water quality. The graduates studied the history of public health and the public health infrastructure of the local, state and federal levels. They also explored the relationship between public health practice and academia. The 44-credit program provides graduates with the theoretical, methodological and practical experience relevant to address health policy and law with an emphasis on racial and economic health disparities and bioethics.

The program’s next class is scheduled to graduate in May 2012. Students may enroll for the fall or spring semesters. Graduates of the program will gain the skills to analyze public health situations that arise in a number of areas, including health-care administration, bioethics, nursing, pastoral care, patient advocacy, medical social work, medical research, the insurance industry and the legal field. Applicants must have a strong academic record, background or experience relevant to public health, clear career goals and a commitment to the health of the community. They must possess a bachelor’s degree and at least one of the following or equivalent scores: GRE, MCAT, GMAT or LSAT. Applicants who have an advanced degree beyond the baccalaureate may elect to have their application reviewed by the program’s admissions committee without providing a standardized test score.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.