UF launches new public health doctoral degree
The University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions has received approval from Florida’s Board of Governors to offer a doctoral degree in public health beginning this fall. With the addition of the Ph.D. program, UF now offers doctoral and master’s level education in each of the five core disciplines of public health.
The new Ph.D. program will offer two concentration areas: environmental and global health, and social and behavioral sciences. The college expects to add more concentrations and students will be able to choose a specialty within each concentration. Graduates of the program are likely to go on to work in education and research at universities, nonprofit organizations, health and environmental research firms, and state and federal agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This new Ph.D. training program will permit new students not only to join us, but also to design and conduct their own research studies,” said Gregory Gray, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the college’s department of environmental and global health. “We have some of the finest emerging disease laboratory space in the world and it has been my experience that adding a cadre of bright and enthusiastic young minds to a research group often results in new research ideas that can have a profound impact upon public health.”
UF hopes that the new Ph.D. in public health will help to address the need for more public health professionals, said College of Public Health and Health Professions Dean Michael G. Perri. The Association of Schools of Public Health estimates that by 2020 the United States will have a shortage of more than 250,000 public health workers.
“The goal of our new doctoral program is to train health professionals who have a deep understanding of the behavioral, social and psychological factors that affect the health of Floridians across the life course,” said Barbara Curbow, Ph.D., chair of the college’s department of behavioral science and community health. “Through their research, our graduates will have the skills to address important health issues such as tobacco and alcohol use among adolescents, community barriers to healthy eating, medical treatment decision making, and health promotion among people with disabilities. Beyond that, they will educate and mentor the next generation of Florida’s public health practitioners and make service contributions to their communities.”