Wisconsin IN PUBLIC HEALTH

Masters of Public Health (MPH) Degree in Wisconsin

 

In 2014, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health (DPH), spent almost $75 million in support of the state’s many public health programs aimed at promoting health and preventing disease among Wisconsin’s residents (According to a research study of public health funding and spending trends conducted by a non-partisan group, Trust for America’s Health).

 

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During 2014, funding coming through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) accounted for $92 million, while the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) contributed $85 million. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Public Health (DPH) then distributed these funds to the state’s 88 local health departments to support the public health services offered in Wisconsin.

 

The public health system in Wisconsin is an enormous, multi-agency entity. With the nearly $180 million the CDC and HRSA contributed collectively, public health professionals in Wisconsin are able to maintain many of the public health programs that Wisconsin residents have come to rely on.

 

The common link between all public health leaders in policy development and program administration in Wisconsin is an interdisciplinary master’s degree in public health. A graduate-level education is essential to turning out talented professionals who can create public health policy and manage public health campaigns that serve to promote the health of Wisconsin residents.

 

Earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Wisconsin

 

The Master of Public Health (MPH) is the academic credential that distinguishes the most talented, knowledgeable, and effective public health leaders in policy development and program administration. The MPH degree program is ideal for professionals interested in advancing their careers to take on leadership roles in health policy and program development, but also versatile enough to suit the needs of bachelor’s-educated professionals in other fields interested in beginning a career in health policy or program management.

 

A convenient part-time option is also available through most MPH programs. This gives working professionals the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree while maintaining employment.

 

Academic Overview

 

The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is an independent organization that defines accreditation standards for programs offering the master’s degree in public health. Academic institutions recognized with CEPH accreditation offer a curriculum that integrates the Association of Schools of Public Health’s (ASPH) five core competencies described in the 2004 MPH Core Competency Model:

 

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

 

The following interdisciplinary domains were later developed by the ASPH with the goal of helping students develop the qualities and attributes essential to successful public health policy development and program administration in practice:

 

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

 

Admission Requirements

 

Requirements for enrollment into a master’s in public health degree program vary between schools. Shown below are common admission requirements for MPH degree programs:

 

  • Submission of current 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
  • Submission of official transcripts from all academic institutions attended.
  • Submission of statement of purpose essay (500-1,500 words)
  • Submission of current resume
  • Submission of two letters of recommendation

 

Focus Areas and Specialization

 

The master’s in public health degree program is distinguishable by its unique incorporation of specific specialty areas designed to help strengthen the student’s portfolio and provide them with the skills needed to be successful in today’s interconnected global health community. The specialty areas shown here are some of the more common focus areas available in MPH programs:

 

Health Communication: Designed for those interested in learning how to use communication and marketing as strategic tools to advance public health objectives. The Wisconsin Immunization Program is an example of a public health program that requires the strong leadership and communication of talented public health professionals.

 

This specialization includes courses in:

 

  • Leadership Seminar
  • Global Health Communication Interventions
  • Preventing Health Disparities
  • Social Marketing
  • Marketing and Research for Public Health
  • Credits: 10-15

 

Health Policy: Designed for those who want to be leaders in improving program efficacy and enhancing the capacity of public health services in the U.S. and other nations. In July of 2015, Wisconsin was one of only nine states to receive a nearly $4 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to continue the Wisconsin Coverdell Stroke Program. The reception of the CDC award can only be attributed to the hard work of Wisconsin’s public health professionals and program directors.

 

This specialization includes courses in:

 

  • 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
  • Credits: 10-15

 

Program Planning and Evaluation: Designed for those who want to be leaders in planning, implementing, and evaluating Wisconsin’s public health programs and in developing strategies to make these programs more beneficial to Wisconsin residents. Some of the public health programs in Wisconsin include the Community Options Program (COP), Wisconsin Senior Employment Program (WISE), Wisconsin Elderly Nutrition Program, and the Katie Beckett Program.

 

This specialization includes courses in:

 

  • 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
  • Credits: 10-15

 

Global Health: Designed for those who want to bring positive change to global health policies and create initiatives focused on eradicating disease and reducing the effects of illness on global communities. Some of the global health initiatives offered through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include International Micronutrient Malnutrition Prevention and Control (IMMPaCt) and Global Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene (WASH).

 

This specialization includes courses in:

 

  • 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
  • Credits: 10-15

 

Accelerated One-Year and Part-Time Options

 

Professionals interested in fast-tracking their education might want to consider the accelerated one-year option. This option gives students the ability to earn their graduate degree in only 12 months. The accelerated option utilizes the MPH program’s core curriculum, but it follows a more time-consuming, aggressive schedule.

 

Working professionals might be interested in pursuing the part-time option. This option is offered in an online format and provides the flexibility that working professionals need. Many schools offering the MPH program give students up to four years to finish their degree on a part-time basis.

 

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

 

In July of 2015, the Chippewa Valley Business Report, a business journal serving Wisconsin’s west central area, reported that the aging of the Baby Boom generation has led to an increase in the demand for healthcare services. According to the Wisconsin Department of Administration, the population of residents aged 65 and over is expected to increase from roughly 800,000 in 2010 to 1,535,500 in 2040 and will account for nearly 24% of the state’s total population. As the Chippewa Valley Business Report points out, the aging of this particular demographic group will lead to a greater demand for healthcare services in Wisconsin. Public health programs designed to encourage good health, prevent disease, and manage chronic health conditions will become a vital necessity to this age group. As such, accomplished public health professionals can expect to see an increased demand for their skills.

 

In 2014, the 10-year employment projections for public health occupations between 2012 and 2022 shown below were published on Wisconsin’s Worknet, the state’s online portal for labor market information:

 

  • Social and Community Services Managers: 5.5%
  • Statisticians: 20.77%
  • Microbiologists: 9.96%
  • Biological Scientists, All Other: 2.41%
  • Sociologists: 10.75%
  • Social Scientists: 5.5%

 

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

 

In May of 2014, salary data published on Wisconsin’s Worknet revealed the following salaries for public health occupations throughout Wisconsin. The salary range for each occupation begins at the tenth percentile, generally representative of entry-level professionals, and ends at the 90th percentile, generally representative of the most experienced professionals:

 

  • Social and Community Services Managers: $37,400 to $89,883
    • Average in Green Bay: $57,274
    • Average in Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis: $61,573
    • Average in Madison: $66,092
  • Statisticians: $50,501 to $108,314
    • Average in Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis: $72,849
    • Average in Madison: $81,014
  • Microbiologists: $36,068 to $98,280
    • Average in Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis: $75,472
    • Average in Madison: $60,477
  • Biological Scientists, All Other: $36,416 to $112,636
    • Average in Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis: $65,539
    • Average in Madison: $79,590
  • Epidemiologists: $50,555 to $91,821
    • Average in Madison: $66,367
  • Sociologists: $35,454 to $87,135
    • Average in Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis: $60,001
  • Social Scientists: $36,485 to $92,203
    • Average in Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis: $79,609
  • Rehabilitation Counselors: $23,920 to $52,331
    • Average in Green Bay: $44,702
    • Average in Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis: $35,698
    • Average in Madison: $32,627

 

Career Opportunities for Master’s-Educated Public Health Professionals in Wisconsin

 

Professionals who complete an MPH or specialized master’s degree in public health will find a real demand for their skills in the public health job market. (A sampling of public health job descriptions taken from a survey of job vacancy announcements in Wisconsin performed in January 2016 are shown below for illustrative purposes only and do not suggest an assurance of employment.):

 

Health Division Director/Health Officer at Polk County Government Center in Balsam

 

  • Responsibilities:
    • Develops and implements population-based public health programs based on health needs of the community
    • Coordinates ongoing public health improvement initiative
    • Evaluates public health initiatives and institutes programmatic changes based on community health needs
    • Ensures that public health initiatives comply with standards to maintain national public health accreditation
    • Ensures that public health programs are accessible to vulnerable populations
    • Assumes a leadership role in seeking out funding and grants for Polk County’s public health programs
  • Requirements:
    • Master’s degree in public health or public administration
    • Three years of experience in a public health agency in an administrative or management role

 

Public Health Officer at Waupaca County Department of Health and Human Services in Waupaca

 

  • Responsibilities:
    • Management and oversight of Public Health Unit operations, including programs like Seal-A-Smile, Communicable Diseases, and Environmental Health Services
    • Participates in grant writing and advocates for outside funding of the Waupaca County Public Health Unit
    • Creates budgets for public health programs and monitors fiscal feasibility of programs
    • Assumes role of designated local health officer for Waupaca County
    • Evaluates public health needs, develops public health policy, and advocates for public health initiatives which serve the interest of the community
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree in nursing or public health
    • At least three years of experience working in a public health agency
    • Understanding of Trauma-Informed Care is preferable

 

Public Health Educator/Accreditation Coordinator at Forest County Potawatomi in Crandon

 

  • Responsibilities:
    • Serves as a leader in preparing for National Public Health Accreditation
    • Conducts health needs assessment at the individual and community level
    • Provides health education to both individuals and communities
    • Plans health improvement activities and implements strategizes to help promote health within communities
    • Understands the impact of culture on health and well-being and develops culturally sensitive plans in order to address the health needs of different cultures within the community
  • Requirements:
    • Bachelor’s degree in public health
    • Three years of experience in public health
    • Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) preferable