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Central Washington University

First students taking classes in new CWU Master of Public Health program

Monday, October 14, 2019

Public Health is CentralThe federal Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in healthcare occupations to grow 14 percent through to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. In all, about 1.9 million new jobs are expected to be created.

Making sure there are graduates for those vital jobs, particularly in rural areas of Washington, is among the goals of Central Washington University’s new Master of Public Health degree, which launched fall quarter.

“The Master of Public Health is one of the most sought-after practical degrees in health professions because it is so applicable to just about any job setting and any population,” says Tishra Beeson, CWU’s Public Health program director. “However, there are very few institutions in Washington that offer a Master of Public Health. We are really focused on advancing the health professions workforce in this region.” 

As public health is an interdisciplinary field, graduates who earn the new CWU master’s degree will have access to a range of jobs.

“We prepare our graduates—in any setting they are in—to help improve the health of populations,” Beeson explains. “Many will go to work at local public health departments, hospitals, or large clinical organizations. They may also go into corporate wellness, conduct public health research, or join global health organizations.”

Because of the multi-disciplinary nature of public health, master’s degree candidates may also come from other disciplines, including social work, psychology, sociology, environmental studies, and law and justice. The new CWU master’s program augments the university’s established Bachelor of Science in Public Health.

“At the undergraduate level, we focus on exposure to population health issues, such as inequities in health outcomes, quality and—particularly in our area—access to care,” Beeson explains. “But the curriculum is very broad. At the master’s level, they receive more advanced training. Students get the chance to develop more advanced skills and gain specialized expertise in an area of his or her interest.”

Those include such areas as public health nutrition, rural and community health, maternal and child health, and healthcare policy, administrative management, and leadership.

“A lot of our students are interested in going into rural health and helping lead health improvement efforts in communities that may be traditionally underserved,” Beeson adds.  

This projected growth in employment in health professions is caused by many factors, including an aging population, which is leading to greater demand for healthcare services.

“Students who gain knowledge and develop skills in population health—which can be challenging to address—are in high demand because that’s the way the entire health industry is moving,” Beeson says. “It’s not just about treating individual symptoms and treating disease but looking at a more holistic view of all the factors that impact health and quality of life.”

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Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, director of Radio Services and Integrated Communications, 509-963-1487, Robert.Lowery@cwu.edu

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