West Virginia IN PUBLIC HEALTH

Masters of Public Health (MPH) Degree in West Virginia

 

In 2014, the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health, spent a grand total of $111.7 million on public health programs supporting the needs of its 1.9 million residents, according to statistics published by the non-profit organization, Trust for America’s Health.

 

Master of Public Health Online - George Washington University

This online program from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University offers the flexibility to earn a Master of Public Health degree while maintaining your personal and professional commitments. You’ll have access to high-quality, faculty-designed video coursework 24/7, and you’ll study with accomplished professors and peers from around the world. Click here for admissions information.

Online Master of Public Health - Simmons College

Simmons’ online Master of Public Health program, MPH@Simmons, is designed to give you the real-world skills you need to address health inequity on a local, national, and global scale. You’ll learn core public health methodology, leadership, and advocacy skills needed to improve population health equity. Request Information.

West Virginia’s funds for public health spending came from two sources: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The HRSA contributed nearly half of all the federal money the West Virginia Department of Health & Human Resources, Bureau for Public Health received in 2014 ($74,116,062), while the remainder ($43,317,862) came from the CDC. In fact, West Virginia ranked 4th in the country in terms of grants received from the HRSA based on per capita spending. These funds are crucial to supporting the public health programs available through the state’s 49 local health departments.

 

These figures undoubtedly convey the scope and breadth of West Virginia’s public health system, and in fact, Trust for America’s Health also identified West Virginia as having the 8th highest public health spending budget in the country.

 

One of the most effective public health campaigns in West Virginia has been the West Virginia Children’s Health Insurance Program (WVCHIP), which has been fundamental in contributing to the fact that 97% of the state’s children have health coverage. In October of 2015, the state of West Virginia was recognized by Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families for reducing the number of uninsured children in West Virginia from 43.7% in 2013 to just 3% in 2014.

 

The common thread among public health professionals is a graduate-level education, which prepares them to make the tough decisions needed to develop the most effective policies aimed at improving the health and well-being of West Virginians.

 

Earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) in West Virginia

 

The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree moulds students into skillful, talented public health leaders in areas like health policy development and program administration and evaluation.

 

This degree option is perfect for public health professionals who want to take the next step in their public health career, but it’s also designed for the bachelor’s-educated professional interested in changing career paths entirely and getting involved in the public health field. A bachelor’s degree in any major from a regionally accredited institution is generally considered acceptable for enrollment into most MPH programs.

 

Academic Overview

 

The organization responsible for setting accreditation standards for master’s degree programs in public health is the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Programs with CEPH accreditation encompass the Association of Schools of Public Health’s (ASPH) five core competencies defined in the MPH Core Competency Model:

 

  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental health sciences
  • Epidemiology
  • Health policy management
  • Social and behavioral sciences

 

The ASPH later supplemented its MPH Core Competency Model with seven cross-cutting competencies for the purpose of enhancing the quality of MPH programs as well as ensuring that students develop the qualities expected of them in today’s contemporary public health environment:

 

  • Communication and informatics
  • Diversity and culture
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism
  • Program planning
  • Public health biology
  • Systems thinking

 

Admission Requirements

 

Enrollment requirements for MPH programs are set by the individual academic institution. The enrollment requirements shown below are representative of the standard enrollment requirements for MPH programs:

 

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
  • Official GRE scores; applicants who have taken the LSAT, GMAT, or MCAT or who currently hold a graduate degree are exempt from the GRE requirement
  • Official transcripts from each academic institution attended
  • Statement of purpose essay (500-1,500 words)
  • Current resume
  • Two letters of recommendation

 

Focus Areas and Specialization

 

Master’s in public health degree programs incorporate specific areas of focus into the core curriculum in the interest of allowing students to choose their career focus and helping them establish a foundation of understanding for the changing future of our global health community. The areas of focus defined below are some of the most common specialization options offered in MPH programs:

 

Health Communication: The health communication specialization is perfect for professionals interested in using communication and marketing as a means to influence public health policy. The West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program, for example, is a public health initiative which depends on effective communication and marketing strategies in order to engage the public in preventative screenings.

 

Courses within this specialization may include:

 

  • Leadership Seminar
  • Global Health Communication Interventions
  • Preventing Health Disparities
  • Social Marketing
  • Marketing and Research for Public Health
  • Total of 10-15 credits

 

Health Policy: The health policy specialization is perfect for professionals interested in health policy development and improvement. In 2015, the Public Health Impact Task Force (PHITF) was established by West Virginia’s public health commissioner, Dr. Rahul Gupta. The objective of the PHITF is to redefine the public health model in West Virginia and to propose new health policies which will better serve the needs of West Virginia residents.

 

Courses within this specialization may include:

 

  • Monitoring and Evaluation of Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
  • Qualitative Research Methods in Public Health
  • Public Health and Law
  • Global Health Diplomacy
  • Leadership Seminar
  • Law, Medicine and Ethics
  • Total of 10-15 credits

 

Program Planning and Evaluation: The program planning and evaluation specialization is perfect for professionals interested in evaluating the outcomes of public health programs, determining their efficacy and then developing ways to make West Virginia’s public health programs more effective. The West Virginia Tobacco Quitline, Help Me Grow, Vaccines for Children (VFC), and the West Virginia WISEWOMAN Program are all examples of public health services in West Virginia.

 

Courses within this specialization may include:

 

  • Monitoring and Evaluation of Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
  • Researching Violence Against Women and Girls
  • Qualitative Research Methods in Public Health
  • Social Marketing
  • Marketing Research for Public Health
  • Total of 10-15 credits

 

Global Health: The global health specialization is perfect for professionals interested in combating global health issues through the development of health programs aimed at the reduction or eradication of disease. Global health programs led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) and PulseNet International.

 

Courses within this specialization may include:

 

  • Monitoring and Evaluation of Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
  • Researching Violence Against Women and Girls
  • Global Health Communication Interventions
  • Preventing Health Disparities
  • Global Health Diplomacy
  • Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology
  • Climate Change and Social Change
  • Total of 10-15 credits

 

Accelerated One-Year and Part-Time Options

 

Students working on their master’s in public health have the option of choosing the accelerated one-year option. This option reduces degree completion time to just 12 months. While the one-year option utilizes the same course material as traditional programs, it is more demanding and intense because it packs more material into a smaller time frame.

 

Students looking for flexibility might find value in the part-time option. Most schools offering the MPH program allow students a maximum of four years to complete the program on a part-time basis.

 

Job Growth Projections for Master’s-Educated Public Health Professionals in West Virginia

 

In March of 2014, the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research conducted and published a study of aging trends in West Virginia. The findings revealed that West Virginia’s population is projected to age at a much faster rate than the rest of the nation. In fact, by 2030, the 65-and-over age group is expected to account for 22.9% of the state’s total population, up from 16% in 2010. A separate publication issued by the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics attributes the accelerated growth of West Virginia’s healthcare sector to the state’s older-than-average population. Public health initiatives designed to promote health and prevent disease in West Virginia’s elderly population are essential to the health and safety of this vulnerable population. This, in turn, has led to a greater need for public health policy administrators and program directors in West Virginia.

 

The West Virginia Department of Commerce, through its online labor market information site WorkForce, published the following job growth estimates for public health occupations in West Virginia for the period between 2012 and 2022:

 

  • Social and Community Services Managers: 7%
    • WIA 2, including Huntington: 7%
    • WIA 3, including Charleston: 11%
    • WIA 4, including Parkersburg: 3%
    • WIA 5, including Wheeling: 4%
  • Statisticians: 25%
    • WIA 2, including Huntington: 31%
  • Microbiologists: 8%
  • Biological Scientists, All Other: 8%
    • WIA 2, including Huntington: 8%
  • Epidemiologists: 9%
    • WIA 3, including Charleston: 13%
  • Social Scientists: 12%
    • WIA 2, including Huntington: 16%
    • WIA 3, including Charleston: 14%
    • WIA 4, including Parkersburg: 11%
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: 12%
    • WIA 2, including Huntington: 13%
    • WIA 3, including Charleston: 16%
    • WIA 4, including Parkersburg: 9%
    • WIA 5, including Wheeling: 17%

 

Salaries for Public Health Professions in West Virginia that Require a Master’s Degree

 

The following public health salaries were published jointly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2014 and by the West Virginia Department of Commerce in 2015. Salaries range from entry-level (tenth percentile) to highly experienced (90th percentile):

 

  • Social and Community Services Managers: $33,790 to $75,340
    • Average in WIA 2, including Huntington: $53,107
    • Average in WIA 3, including Charleston: $62,926
    • Average in WIA 4, including Parkersburg: $48,211
    • Average in WIA 5, including Wheeling: $51,918
  • Statisticians: $26,160 to $117,440
    • Average in WIA 2, including Huntington: $38,464
  • Microbiologists: $26,290 to $95,810
  • Biological Scientists, All Other: $44,050 to $90,350
  • Epidemiologists: $34,160 to $65,730
  • Social Scientists: $31,880 to $73,440
    • Average in WIA 2, including Huntington: $37,994
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: $20,620 to $49,580
    • Average in WIA 2, including Huntington: $37,542
    • Average in WIA 3, including Charleston: $38,607
    • Average in WIA 5, including Wheeling: $33,771

 

Career Opportunities for Master’s-Prepared Public Health Professionals in West Virginia

 

A master’s degree in specialized areas of public health qualifies graduates for jobs key to the success of public health programs and initiatives. (The job descriptions given below are for illustrative purposes only and do not reflect an assurance of employment.):

 

Rehabilitation Counselor at West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources

 

  • Responsibilities:
    • Provides professional rehabilitative counseling to disabled individuals
    • Assesses and identifies barriers to returning disabled individuals to a work environment
    • Collaborates with employers on the development of programs to modify the work environment of disabled individuals
    • Attempts to find alternative employment for disabled individuals if the original work environment cannot be adequately modified
  • Requirements:
    • Master’s degree from an accredited college/university in rehabilitation counseling
    • Desired certifications include Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), Certified Vocational Evaluator (CVE), Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

 

Epidemiologist 2 at Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau of Public Health, Health Statistics Center in Kanawha County

 

  • Responsibilities:
    • Performs surveillance, evaluation, and data management for the Health Statistics Center
    • Manages data within the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
    • Conducts special case studies and authors Health Statistics Center (HSC) briefs
    • Provides epidemiological support to the Health Statistics Center (HSC)
    • Analyzes event data and authors statistical data reports on births, deaths, and fetal deaths
    • Provides advanced statistical analysis of public health trends and emerging concerns using SAS software
  • Requirements:
    • Master’s degree in epidemiology or public health with completion of two courses in epidemiology and one course in biostatistics or Certification in Infection Control (CIC)
    • Three years’ experience in epidemiology

 

Community Services Manager 1 at Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR)

 

  • Responsibilities:
    • Plans, implements, directs, and reviews human services programs within a Community Service District
    • Assumes a leadership role in developing and implementing family-centered and community-based services
    • Establishes goals and objectives for human services programs and ensures programs maintain adherence to state and federal requirements
    • Evaluates effectives of human services programs, identifies problem areas, and develops plans for quality improvement
    • Facilitates program changes to better meet the needs of the public
  • Requirements:
    • Four-year degree from an accredited college/university
    • Five years’ experience in human services with two years’ experience in program administration
    • Master’s degree can be substituted for the experience requirement