Columbia, Mo. October 10: On October 6th, the University of Missouri Curators voted to approve the proposal by the School of Health Professions to create a Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) in Public Health degree, pending final approval by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education. The proposal was a response to student interest in the degree program and the critical need for a trained public health workforce in Missouri, the US and the world. Kristofer Hagglund, Dean of the School of Health Professions said, “This new program will both draw students to Mizzou and help with undergraduate retention because it is the only bachelor’s program in public health at a public university within 300 miles of MU – we’re now able provide a highly-sought degree that isn’t currently available.”

The new degree program will be housed within the Department of Health Sciences in the School of Health Professions, and the director of the new program, not yet named, will report to the chair of the DHS program, Dr. Rosemary Hogan. Housing the program within the Department of Health Sciences will build on the existing teaching and research strengths in public health among DHS faculty, maximize the strong existing relationships with programs such as the Master of Public Health Program, which has been administratively moved to SHP, and with community partners. Hagglund said, “The existing infrastructure in the department of health sciences is ideal for leveraging community partnerships, opportunities for experiential learning and employment for students and graduates, and managing the administrative efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the new program.”

Hogan said that “Public health is an interdisciplinary field, and this program will attract students who are interested in a variety of potential employment opportunities.” Examples include health promotion, health policy, health communication, epidemiology, environmental health; advancement in their current employment; students who are interested in pursuing graduate study in public health; and students who wish to enhance their preparation for graduate or professional studies in a variety of fields.

Students will apply for admission to the major in their sophomore year, and will complete the core public health coursework in their junior and senior years. The program will use a competitive admission process with admissions capped at 60 students per year. The curriculum and structure of the program are designed to meet the standards for accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health(CEPH).