New Public Health Doctorate Program Centers on Preventive Health

Given that the leading causes of death in the U.S. are preventable, the University of Miami’s Department of Public Health Sciences’ Division of Prevention Science and Community Health has recently launched a unique doctoral degree program in Prevention Science and Community Health. The aim of the new Ph.D. program is to cultivate scientists who will devise and evaluate preventive health mechanisms and arm communities with knowledge and awareness that will, in turn, decrease disease and morbidity.

“This new and exciting program will essentially train new generations of researchers who are committed to reducing health epidemics — some of which are fatal and many of which are preventable,” said Guillermo “Willy” Prado, Ph.D., M.S., Leonard M. Miller Professor of Public Health Sciences and Director of the Division of Prevention Science and Community Health.

The degree program is unique in that it is the only one of its kind at a medical school, said Prado. It also draws from a broad range of disciplines, including nursing and health sciences, education, psychology, biostatistics and epidemiology. The first cohort of students will begin classes in the fall 2015 semester. Admission to the program was highly competitive, with only 8 percent of applicants accepted.

“To be able to train scientists to develop evidence-based interventions will be truly transformative,” said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School of Medicine, and CEO of UHealth. “The degree exemplifies the Miller School’s commitment to finding novel and targeted ways to close knowledge gaps and improve the health of our fellow humans.”

The degree, which was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in April, is in line with the Affordable Care Act’s emphasis on preventive health, said Prado, who designed the program with a team of top UM public health faculty.

Coursework will cover health equity, determinants of health, advanced community-based participatory research, and implementation science, among other public health core research methodology. Students will also have access to practical work in the global arena.

Seth Schwartz, Ph.D., professor of public health sciences, will serve as the program’s Director.

“To succeed in ameliorating social and medical problems, and in promoting better health practices, we must focus on the entire continuum of prevention science,” he said. “We must not be satisfied with anything less.”

For more information on the degree program, click here.

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