Philosophy and Approach
COPHP prepares students for careers in public health practice by reinforcing skills to address the practical, everyday challenges of work in communities. Graduates will be well prepared to work in such varied settings as community and public health agencies, managed care organizations, federal programs, and advocacy and philanthropic associations.
To help students develop the skills they will need in these settings, the program draws on two learning approaches that are especially effective to integrate academic training and practice:
Problem-based learning (PBL), a method that uses original, relevant, and
timely case studies about public health issues. Students learn through active
inquiry and analysis rather than through a traditional lecture approach. With
the assistance of faculty facilitators, students work in small groups to
examine cases, identify key issues, find needed information, and apply the
information to solve community health problems. PBL generates self-directed
learners and team players, and it cultivates recognition of the complexities
of real-world public health challenges. PBL is the heart of the COPHP program
and the learning method used for all its core subjects. It is important that
every COPHP student is a good "fit" with PBL.
[Read about whether is PBL right for you.]
- Service learning uses extensive fieldwork with organizations, agencies, and communities to help students integrate course work with real-world experiences. Because of its practice focus, the COPHP requires a more substantial service-learning component than do most MPH programs. During the first year, students work in a local health department or at other community-based field placements to help them acquire practical skills. In the second year, students select a community-based agency or organization with which to work on a year-long Capstone project.