Public Health

Program Description

The Master of Public Health (MPH) Program at La Salle University provides students with opportunities for knowledge and skill development to solve public health problems, with particular emphasis on health disparities in urban communities. Students collaborate with community members and other professionals to create and evaluate health promotion and disease prevention programs. The curriculum includes a practice immersion and a capstone project that emphasize case findings, health education, and disease prevention. The MPH curriculum is designed to ensure that upon graduation students have attained knowledge in the broad field of public health as well as knowledge related to health disparities in urban communities.  MPH students complete their public health practice hours in communities identified as medically underserved or vulnerable. Students bring the knowledge, skills, and attitudes gained in core and cross-cutting competency, elective, practice, and capstone courses to the practice site that meet the public health needs of urban communities.

Mission

Mission

The mission of the La Salle University Master of Public Health (MPH) Program, which is rooted in the larger University mission, is to educate individuals from diverse disciplines and backgrounds in core public health knowledge areas so that they are equipped to help prevent disease and promote physical and mental health and social well-being through public health practice, leadership, and research.

Values

The La Salle Master of Public Health (MPH) Program’s values stem from the broader University’s values, including teaching excellence, the importance of community, service to the poor, and education that fosters spiritual development. Specifically, the Program’s values include:

  • Excellence in teaching that fosters idealism, creativity, and innovation.
  • Service to marginalized and underserved populations which helps to promote health and prevent disease.
  • Research and scholarship that engages communities as partners in improving the environmental and social conditions necessary to achieve physical and mental health and social well-being.
  • Ethical decision making that considers social justice and health equity.
  • Respect for cultural and religious values at the individual, family, community, and societal levels.
  • Equality for individuals and communities regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or ability. 
  • Commitment to lifelong professional and personal development.

Program Goals

Instructional Goals

Goal: Graduates demonstrate competency in public health practice in urban communities reflecting the Council on Education for Public Health identified criteria.

Faculty Goal

Goal: Faculty demonstrate public health expertise through effective teaching and advising.

Research Goal

Goal: Students and faculty will engage in public health research and scholarly activities.

Service Goal

Goal: Students and faculty will engage in service activities within the University and for the larger community. Particular emphasis is placed on service opportunities addressing the needs of urban communities.

Workforce Development Goal

Goal: The Program will provide training and workforce development opportunities that meet the needs of the public health workforce in urban communities.

Diversity Goal

Goal: The Program will integrate the contributions of underrepresented groups into the curriculum. Faculty will report plans for this integration annually.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the MPH program, graduates will be able to:

  • Analyze determinants of health and disease using an ecological framework.
  • Apply epidemiologic methods to address scientific, ethical, economic, and political discussions related to public health issues.
  • Apply descriptive and inferential statistical methods to inform public health research, practice, and policy.
  • Identify genetic, physiologic, and psychosocial factors that affect susceptibility to adverse health outcomes following exposure to environmental hazards.
  • Describe the legal and ethical bases for public health and health services.
  • Apply the principles of program planning, development, budgeting, management, and evaluation in organizational and community initiatives.
  • Compare basic theories, concepts, and models from a range of social and behavioral disciplines used in public health research and practice.
  • Apply informatics and communication methods and resources as strategic tools to promote public health.
  • Apply basic principles of ethical analysis (e.g. the Public Health Code of Ethics, human rights framework, and other moral theories) to issues of public health practice and policy.

Council on Education for Public Health Competencies

Evidence Based Approaches to Public Health

  • Apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health practice
  • Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context  
  • Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming and software, as appropriate  
  • Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice

Public Health & Health Care Systems

  • Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings  
  • Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and societal levels

Planning & Management to Promote Health

  • Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health  
  • Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs   
  • Design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention  
  • Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management  
  • Select methods to evaluate public health programs

Policy in Public Health

  • Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence   
  • Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes  
  • Advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations  
  • Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity

Leadership

  • Apply principles of leadership, governance and management, which include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration and guiding decision making   
  • Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges  

Communication

  • Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors   
  • Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation  
  • Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content  

Interprofessional Practice

  • Perform effectively on interprofessional teams

Systems Thinking  

  • Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue  

Health Disparities in Urban Communities Competencies

  • Investigate the socioeconomic and cultural factors that impact human health and result in common health disparities affecting urban communities
  • Analyze ethical issues surrounding research, risk, and public health interventions involving vulnerable and marginalized populations living and working in urban communities
  • Evaluate the extent to which principles of community based participatory research (CBPR) have been used in planning, development, and evaluation of public health programs and research with diverse populations.
  • Demonstrate collaboration with community partners to prioritize individual, organizational, and community concerns related to reducing health disparities in urban communities
  • Evaluate how moral and ethical values shape and influence decision making, policy development, and health outcomes in urban communities
  • Assess the degree to which community based public health programs and strategies address health disparities in diverse urban communities.

Program Specific Information

Public Health Practice Experience

Placement in the public health practice experience is established by an affiliation agreement with a non-profit agency or organization invested in health-related programs. Students identify public health practice sites based on academic and prior work experience, individual interest, and professional goals. Students must complete 200 practice hours to successfully complete the practice requirement.

 

 

Academic Requirements

Students complete 48 semester hours of degree requirements. This coursework includes successful completion of all core and cross-cutting competency, elective, practice, and Capstone courses. The cumulative GPA in the MPH Program must be a 3.0 or better in order to graduate.

Scope and Sequence of Master of Public Health Program

The MPH curriculum incorporates several elements: core and cross-cutting competencies, electives, practice, and two capstone courses. The curriculum addresses all of the criteria and comptencies outlined by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Courses generally run over 15 weeks in the fall and spring semesters and 11 weeks in the summer session. The following section details the length of the academic units in courses and credit hours organized in the curricular structures of core and cross-cutting competency, elective, practice, and capstone courses.

All courses listed below are 3 credits, unless otherwise noted.

Core Competencies

(21 credits)

  • PHLT 520 - Environmental Health
  • PHLT 530 - Public Health Ethics, Leadership and Management
  • PHLT 600 - Research Methods for Public Health
  • PHLT 635 - Health Policy
  • PHLT 637 - Epidemiology
  • PHLT 704 - Statistics and Biostatistics
  • PHLT 705 - Frameworks in Public Health Practice

Cross-Cutting Competencies

(9 credits)

  • PHLT 513 -GIS Applications for Public Health
  • PHLT 540 - Introduction to Public Health: Concepts of Health and Disease
  • PHLT 696 - Grant Writing Seminar

Electives

(Choose 2 electives — 6 credits)*

  • PHLT 551 - Urban Men’s Health
  • PHLT 554 - Public Health, AIDS, and Society
  • PHLT 556 - Reproductive Health for the Public Health Practitioner
  • PHLT 557 - Women, Gender, and Public Health
  • PHLT 558 - Adolescent Health: Public Health Issues, Programs, and Policies
  • PHLT 615 - Violence Prevention and Control
  • PHLT 630 - Race, Ethnicity, and Public Health

*Additional public health-related courses may be used as electives with permission of the MPH Program Director. 

Public Health Practice

(6 credits)

  • PHLT 750 - Public Health Practice Experience I
  • PHLT 751 - Public Health Practice Experience II
  • Capstone

(6 credits)

  • PHLT 752 - Public Health Capstone/Culminating Experience I
  • PHLT 753 - Public Health Capstone/Culminating Experience II

Course Sequence

MPH students can complete the degree requirements over two (2) or three (3) years, as noted below. MPH students have seven (7) years to complete the MPH degree requirements. 

3 Year Option

Year 1

Fall

(6 credits)

  • PHLT 540 - Intro to Public Health: Concepts of Health & Disease
  • PHLT 704 - Statistics and Biostatistics
Spring

(6 credits)

  • PHLT 513 - GIS Applications for Public Health
  • PHLT 637 - Epidemiology
Summer

(6 credits)

  • PHLT 600 - Research Methods for Public Health
  • Elective 1

Year 2

Fall

(6 credits)

  • PHLT 530 - Public Health Ethics, Leadership and Management
  • PHLT 705 - Frameworks in Public Health Practice
Spring

(6 credits)

  • PHLT 635 - Health Policy
  • Elective 2
Summer

(6 credits)

  • PHLT 696 - Grant Writing Seminar
  • PHLT 520 - Environmental Health

Year 3

Fall

(6 credits)

  • PHLT 750 - Public Health Practice Experience I (100 hours)
  • PHLT 752 - Public Health Capstone/Culminating Experience I
  • Comprehensive Exam
Spring

(6 credits)

  • PHLT 751 - Public Health Practice Experience II (100 hours)
  • PHLT 753 - Public Health Capstone/Culminating Experience II

*2 elective courses required

2 Year Option

Year 1

Fall

(9 credits)

  • PHLT 540 - Intro to Public Health: Concepts of Health & Disease
  • PHLT 704 - Statistics and Biostatistics
  • PHLT 705 - Frameworks in Public Health Practice
Spring

(9 credits)

  • PHLT 513 - GIS Applications for Public Health
  • PHLT 637 - Epidemiology
  • PHLT 635 - Health Policy
Summer

(9 credits)

  • PHLT 520 - Environmental Health
  • PHLT 600 - Research Methods for Public Health
  • PHLT 696 - Grant Writing Seminar

Year 2

Fall

(12 credits)

  • Elective 1
  • PHLT 530 - Public Health Ethics Leadership and Management
  • PHLT 750 - Public Health Practice Experience I (100 hours)
  • PHLT 752 - Public Health Capstone/Culminating Experience I
  • Comprehensive Exam
Spring

(9 credits)

  • Elective 2
  • PHLT 751 - Public Health Practice Experience II (100 hours)
  • PHLT 753 - Public Health Capstone/Culminating Experience II

*2 elective courses required

Capstone

The purpose of the capstone (also referred to as a culminating experience) is to have MPH students demonstrate the application and mastery of the MPH program competencies. This culminating experience is required by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the accrediting agency for programs of public health. The capstone thesis allows students to demonstrate proficiency in the public health competencies by conducting a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence related to a public health issue, concern, or intervention over two semesters. Students work closely with Public Health faculty members to identify a meaningful and scholarly capstone thesis that will contribute to the discipline of public health. Students develop their capstone thesis based on their academic interests and their future career goals.  The successful completion and presentation of the capstone thesis as well as the successful completion of a comprehensive written examination signifies that the MPH student is prepared to be a public health practitioner.

Degree or Certificate Earned

MPH

Number of Courses Required for Program Completion

16

Number of Credits Required for Program Completion

48

GPA Required for Program Completion

3.0

Program Contact Information

Candace Robertson-James, DrPH, MPH
Program Director
St. Benilde Tower – Office 3333
215-951-5032
robertsonjames@lasalle.edu

Staff Contact Information

Valerie Bradley

Administrative Assistant

St. Benilde Tower - Office 3014

(215) 951-1120

email: bradley@lasalle.edu

If you have questions mail to: mph@lasalle.edu

Faculty

Director: Candace Robertson-James, DrPH, MPH

Professor: Daniel Rodriguez, PhD, Meredith Kneavel, PhD
Associate Professor: Holly Harner, PhD, MBA, MPH, RN, WHCNP-BC, FAAN,
Assistant Professors: Sara Shuman, PhD, Christen Rexing, PhD, MPH

Course Descriptions

PHLT 513 - GIS Applications for Public Health

This introductory course provides an overview of the basic concepts and uses of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology in public health. As part of a toolkit for public health professionals, ArcGIS provides a means to explore data on a spatial level and communicate this information to a broader audience. Students explore GIS tools and learn to manipulate, analyze, visualize, and illustrate geographic data. Students examine relationships, trends and patterns using GIS technology. Finally, students reflect on community and individual ethical considerations, including use of sensitive electronic information, a public health professional must weigh when using information discovered about a community or individual through GIS-based manipulations. This course is structured to be a hands-on laboratory that covers both conceptual and technical topics.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 520 - Environmental Health

This course addresses environmental factors that impact human health. Local and regional conditions such as air, water, and soil contamination are scrutinized as are global threats, increasing population pressures, poverty, and emerging threats to populations. Students integrate tools of ecological analysis, epidemiology, and toxicology and use risk assessment to define and weigh human exposures to a range of toxicants. Students also examine the impact of environmental conditions including disaster preparedness, occupational health, community health, and health conditions in the home. Furthermore, students consider biological, physical, and chemical factors affecting the health of communities and analyze direct and indirect effects of environmental and occupational agents and outcomes associated with exposure to hazards. The responsibility of public health professionals for the human safety and health of communities through federal, state, and community regulations and agencies is also explored.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 530 - Public Health Ethics, Leadership and Management

Students explore the role of leaders and managers working in organizations focused on the delivery of public health programs, interventions, and outreach. Principles of effective leadership, including fostering collaboration, guiding decision making, effective communication, workforce development, consensus building, negotiation, collaborative problem solving, and conflict management are reviewed. Students address principles of team development and roles and practices of effective teams. This course also explores the ethical and philosophical basis of public health research, practice, and policy. Ethical theories are explored and critically examined, with a focus on their application to public health. Emphasis is placed on health disparities, health equity, and social justice, particularly as these concepts relate to urban communities. The course draws on students' experiences to promote moral reflection of personal values with regard to contemporary public health challenges and examines current and emerging issues as influenced by emerging technological, clinical, political, legal, socio-economic, and fiscal factors. (edited from catalog description)

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 540 - Introduction to Public Health: Concepts of Health and Disease

This introductory course exposes students to foundational public health content including Epidemiology, Social and Behavioral Science, Environmental Health, Health Policy and Management, and Biostatistics. Topics addressed in this course include: the structure, function, and history of public health, the biomedical basis of public health, the public health core functions and essential services, the role of public health ethics and values, and future challenges to public health. Socio-economic and cultural factors that impact human health are examined through exposure to current research and analysis of current events. Databases are surveyed to reveal vital statistics and public health records that inform evidence based decision-making and support public health programs, especially programs that address health disparities and inequities in urban communities. Health priorities, major diseases, and disease burden are examined.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 550 - Global Health

This course explores world heath issues and policies by examining selected threats to global health. Students ascertain the global interconnectedness of humanity and investigate the effect of economic globalization on health issues. Global warming, cross border pollution, the spread of infectious diseases, and international crime are considered. Current health threats, global health indicators, ethical considerations of global initiatives, and solutions are elevated.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 551 - Urban Men's Health

This course explores the growing disparities among disenfranchised and vulnerable populations in our society. Students examine the predicament of fragile populations with a focus on the unique health status of the urban male. This course recognizes that the trait masculinity, gender roles, employment, and psychosocial factors influence the way men care for themselves and others. Students experience health promotion activities in environments demonstrating the challenges urban men face when seeking access to health care.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 554 - Public Health, Aids, and Society

This course provides in-depth study of the most critical public health issue facing society.
Topics include current HIV/AIDS information and an exploration of issues including the history of HIV, transmission and risk factors for infection, local and global disparities in HIV infection, trends in research programs, international/political implications of research and prevention efforts, and the experiences of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 556 - Reproductive Health for the Public Health Practitioner

Course content emphasizes theories of reproductive health, sexual development, and factors influencing sexual behavior within the continuum of health and illness. Common sexual practices and reproductive health issues of people are studied within the context of lifestyle and situational life crises. Concepts of normal sexual function and dysfunction are examined. Contemporary sexual health and reproductive issues are explored. Theoretical foundations of the medical, psychological, socio-cultural, political, and biological determinants of human sexual behavior and reproductive health will be explored. Issues of biology related to sex, gender identity, social sex role, and sexual orientation will be discussed. Contemporary issues of sexual risk behaviors, sexually transmitted infections, and safer sex practices will be examined, in addition to those issues of chronic illness, disability, and sexual coercion.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 557 - Women, Gender, and Public Health

This course will focus on constructions of gender and sex and their implications for understanding determinants of population health and creating healthy public policy. It will consider how different frameworks of addressing gender and biological sex shape questions people ask about, and explanations and interventions they offer for, societal patterns of health, disease, and well-being. The course will demonstrate ways of conceptualizing gender in relation to biology and health using case examples. In all cases, issues of gender will be related to other social determinants of health, including social class, racism, and other forms
of inequality. Implications of diverse approaches will be debated, as part of developing useful strategies for improving physical, mental, and social well-being.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 558 - Adolescent Health: Public Health Issues, Programs, and Policies

This course focuses on the major public health issues of adolescents in the United States and the programs and policies that improve the health and well-being of this population. The students examine the prevalence and etiology of health and wellness indicators for youth and explore a variety of aspects of adolescence and adolescent health. They will analyze adolescent health concerns through conceptual frameworks and recommend effective solutions through interventions.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 600 - Research Methods for Public Health

This course provides an overview to research methods for public health practice, research and evaluation. A variety of theoretical and methodological approaches will be investigated. Quantitative and qualitative approaches to research as well as mixed methods and community participatory approaches to research and evaluation are explored. A variety of data collection processes will be investigated. Students will critique various methodologies, evaluate published public health research studies and assess best practices. Students will also explore the role of cultural competence, collaboration and ethics in public health research

Number of Credits: 3

How Offered: Face-to-Face

PHLT 615 - Violence Prevention and Control

Students review theories of violence causation and epidemiologic patterns of violence in urban settings. An ecological framework will be used to guide critical thinking about risk and protective factors regarding violence. Students explore secondary data sources important to public health practitioners working in the area of violence prevention and control. Programs aimed at preventing violence and injury in urban settings will be examined and critically evaluated.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 635 - Health Policy

This course provides an introduction to health policy, program planning, and evaluation in the public health context and allows students to strengthen and develop their skills in policy formulation and implementation. The social, economic, legal, regulatory, ethical, and political environments that influence healthcare and public health policy are explored. Specific policy areas explored in this course include: The Affordable Care Act; Health Insurance, HMOs, and Managed Care; Medicare; Medicaid; Children's Health Insurance Program; Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of Health Policy; and Health Policy and Leadership. Students also acquire familiarity with strategies for health planning, evaluation, and healthcare funding.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 639 - Race, Ethnicity, and Public Health

This course provides students with an understanding of racial and ethnic influences on health status and the societal factors that shape them. Students examine the concepts of race and ethnicity and distinguish between categories of biological and social constructionist perspectives. They define and describe racial and ethnic health inequities, discuss mechanisms underlying inequities, and think critically about existing health research on health inequities. Students explore theoretical frameworks for interpreting inequities in health and examine approaches for elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 696 - Grant Writing Seminar

In this course, students develop and critique a public health related grant proposal for a public health project, program, or intervention, including developing a budget. Students investigate private and governmental requests for proposals, grants databases, and grant elements with an emphasis on the introduction, proposal summary, problem statement, program goals and objectives, evaluation, personnel, equipment, consultants, budget, and timeline. Students also build a solid foundation in grants management, including required reporting. Requests for proposals from funding entities are also compared.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 705 - Frameworks in Public Health Practice

Students analyze the contribution of social and behavioral factors to health and illness, including risk behavior and health inequities. Health behavior programs and interventions are explored. Theories of health promotion, health behavioral change, and health education are examined and applied to a health promotion project for a vulnerable and diverse community.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 706 - Multivariate Statistics

This course introduces multivariate data analysis methods. The course begins with an introduction to multivariate statistics, including matrix algebra. The course next focuses on multiple regression analysis, and Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA), along with Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA), and repeated measures designs. It will also cover exploratory factor analysis, and introduce structural equation modeling. Students will receive extensive experience with data entry and analysis using SPSS and Mplus statistical computer packages.

How Offered: Face-to-Face

Prerequisites: PHLT 704

PHLT 750 - Public Health Practice Experience I

The goals of the practicum course are to broaden students' exposure to public health practice, facilitate valuable work experience, and increase students' knowledge of specific career opportunities. Practice placements are two semesters long (approximately 100 hours/semester) and provide students with the opportunity to observe a public health professional in practice, complete a public health project that is mutually beneficial to the student and the organization, and synthesize knowledge and skills into public health practice. Students attend mandatory seminars where the principles and practices of public health are examined and students' awareness of the needs, challenges, and career opportunities in the field are further broadened.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 751 - Public Health Practice Experience II

This second course allows students to continue to link public health concepts and ideas presented in the classroom to real world experiences in the public health practice setting. Students learn public health program evaluation as well as focus on public health workforce development, leadership, professional development, and preparation for entry into the public health workforce. Students continue their practice experiences and complete approximately 100 hours in an underserved community setting. Seminar meetings are conducted in which students discuss both their practicum projects and the continuing challenges of program development, evaluation, and implementation.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 752 - Public Health Capstone I: Seminar

The Capstone two-part course sequence provides a culminating experience for students completing the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. Students enter the Capstone with a solid foundation of theory, concepts, constructs, models, processes, and systems studied throughout the MPH Program. Additionally, students have sharpened their analytic and critical thinking skills through discussions, activities, and assignments in prior MPH courses. Part one of this two-part course sequence facilitates initial development and planning for the MPH student's Capstone thesis (also known as the culminating project). The culminating project is required for MPH programs by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Students conduct a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence related to a public health issue, concern, or intervention over two semesters. Students begin their Capstone thesis during the first Capstone course (PHLT 752) and complete their thesis and present their corresponding scientific poster during the second course (PHLT 753). Students also complete a comprehensive examination during PHLT 752 that addresses their knowledge of the public health competencies.

Number of Credits: 3

PHLT 753 - Capstone II: Seminar

The Capstone two-part course sequence provides a culminating experience for students completing the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program. Students enter the Capstone with a solid foundation of theory, concepts, constructs, models, processes, and systems studied throughout the MPH Program. Additionally, students have sharpened their analytic and critical thinking skills through discussions, activities, and assignments in prior MPH courses. Part two of this two-part course sequence continues the development and brings to completion the MPH Capstone thesis (also known as the culminating project). A culminating project is a required component in MPH programs by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Students complete their Capstone thesis and present their corresponding scientific poster in this final course.

Number of Credits: 3