The Yale School of Public Health welcomed 38 working professionals to campus this semester as it launches its inaugural online Executive MPH program.
The part-time program, which takes two years to complete, provides students with a broad foundation in public health and an opportunity to specialize in chosen tracks: Health Informatics, Environmental Health Sciences, Applied Analytical Methods and Epidemiology, and Critical Topics in Public Health. Management and leadership skills are also an explicit component of the curriculum.
As they explored New Haven, the new students participated in a five-day on-site intensive — one of three management and leadership immersions that they will attend throughout the program. The remainder of the program is online and is taught by some of the school’s top faculty.
“This inaugural class has exceeded our high expectations,” said the program’s director, Martin Klein, Ph.D., MPH ’86. “We knew the quality of the program and the reputation of the school would attract a diverse group of accomplished professionals, but their experience, collaborative approach, and eagerness and excitement to learn exceeded our expectations.”
Of the 38 students, roughly half are health care providers, including physicians, nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists. The others work in fields like healthcare administration, finance and policy. They come from 17 states and the District of Columbia, and most have a decade or more of work experience.
And to Professor Marney White, Ph.D., M.S., a core faculty member in the online program, the students all share a collective desire to “include a focus on pressing public health issues” into their careers.
“Although students are logging in from all over the country and from multiple time zones, it felt as though they bonded and formed a real cohort,” she explained. “The distance and Zoom did not seem to impede their ability to connect with each other … they also formed massive WhatsApp text threads and planned social events — really somewhat the same connections I see in the in-person MPH program.”
Every student in the program receives at $10,000 scholarship that was recently named for one of the school’s most distinguished alumni, Irene Trowell-Harris, R.N., M.P.H. ’73, Ed.D, FAAN. Known for her barrier-breaking accomplishments — including as the first African American woman to become a two-star major general in the U.S. Air National Guard — Trowell-Harris has been a lifelong leader in veteran health care and advocates passionately for affordable education.
Her unparalleled accomplishments were honored by naming the scholarship after her earlier this year. “Her personal story of perseverance and commitment serves as an inspiration to our students, current and future,” Klein said in June.
Faculty teaching in the program have been very pleased with the students’ skills, knowledge, and commitment to public health.
For Assistant Clinical Professor Michael Wininger, Ph.D., the work and life experience shared by the inaugural cohort made teaching even more rewarding.
Sharing his lessons with his students felt more like a “collegial conversation amongst peers,” he said — an extremely rewarding experience not only for the teacher but also for the cohort.
“Rather than me advising a student as to what they can expect when they finally enter the real world that awaits them after graduation, the EMPH students are advising me about what particular skills and concepts they need to be trained on so that they can close their laptops and jump back into their surgical procedures, their hospital administration, or their funded research programs,” he explained.
Negotiating online schedules and balancing other commitments has been a challenge, said David Mandelbaum, JD, MBA, a student in the program. But that hasn’t stopped him from forging friendships and diving deep into the curriculum with the help of top faculty from YSPH and beyond.
“Our professors, teaching fellows and program administrators have all been incredibly supportive, thus easing those challenges for us,” he said.
A corporate lawyer-turned-health care investment strategist, Mandelbaum said he decided to pursue an M.P.H. at Yale to further enhance his ability to understand and assess investment opportunities in the health care sector. Through the online Executive M.P.H. program, he’ll also more fully develop an entrepreneurial idea he has thought about for some time in the public health world — and potentially with Tsai CITY’s help.
“My experience thus far has been outstanding, with the program exceeding my high expectations in every way,” Mandelbaum explained.
Applications are now being accepted for next year’s class. To learn more about the online Executive MPH program, visit its website.