Monday, March 16, 2009

Loyola Launches New Online Master of Public Health Program

Curriculum will train graduates to address racial and economic health disparities

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Registration has begun for Loyola University Chicago's new online public health master's degree program designed to prepare graduates to tackle racial and economic health-care disparities in the United States.

Based at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Ill., the program draws faculty and resources from other departments and institutions within Loyola University Chicago. Those include the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy and the School of Social Work from Loyola's Water Tower and Lakeshore campuses and Stritch's Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy and Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology.

"Over the past few decades, the health of people living in this country has improved but the health-care needs of many people living in distressed ethnic, racial and low-income communities are being overlooked," said Dr. Paul Whelton, president and CEO, Loyola University Health System. "I'm very excited about this new initiative. Loyola provides a unique environment for learning while allowing us to contribute to finding ways to solve our nation's health-care dilemmas."

The new program's curriculum focuses on health policy and the law and includes courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health care administration, ethics and social and behavioral health. The curriculum also includes a practicum training experience and a capstone project. The practicum involves participation in a public health setting where students will apply and integrate the skills and knowledge learned during their study. This may include a six-week internship at a center that develops and evaluates health policy. Partial or a complete waiver may be given for prior public health experience.

"The health-care disparities in the communities that this program will focus on are well documented across a broad range of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure," said Lena Hatchett, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Stritch School of Medicine. "Our approach to public health is to bridge the gap between science and practice in the field."

The program also covers the history of public health and the public health infrastructure of the local, state and federal levels. It also explores 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 the law with an emphasis on racial and economic health disparities and bioethics.

"The program's focus on public policy and advocacy is an important example of the university fulfilling its mission of being a beacon for justice," said Larry Singer, associate professor and director of the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy.

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, insurance industry and 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 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 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.