|NIGMS’s Dr. Stephen E. Marcus chairs new FAES grad school department.
Looking for a way to enhance your public health horizons without leaving campus? Broaden your health background in anticipation of a professional leap forward? Then look no further than a new opportunity offered by the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences.
The FAES Graduate School is now offering a public health training program and certificate. As with other instruction at FAES, the certificate program— available to anyone with a bachelor’s degree—is taught at the graduate level. The curriculum includes a year of statistics and one 3-credit course in each of four core disciplines—epidemiology, health policy and management, social and behavioral sciences and environmental health sciences—plus a final independent project worth 3 credits. In all, certification will go to students who attain the required 21 hours.
“The global demand for public health scientists, policymakers and practitioners has never been higher,” said Dr. Stephen E. Marcus, NIGMS program director and epidemiologist and chair of the FAES grad school’s department of public health and certificate program.
Public health, he explained, “focuses on protecting and improving the health of entire communities and populations while they are still healthy, rather than on individual patients after they become ill. This proactive, preventive approach and the focus on the community as its patients are distinguishing characteristics of the field.”
The program can be a boon to those looking to change careers. “I took a call recently from someone at NIH who’s been in the lab for some 30 years,” noted Marcus. “He wants to use his training and expertise to help set up AIDS testing laboratories in Africa and realized he needed the training in epidemiology and health policy to be able to do so. I encouraged him to start taking courses in the certificate program.”
Program courses are taught primarily by NIH staff, however, faculty from the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies and private industry have also provided instruction.
The FAES Graduate School has 12 academic departments, plus the Bio-Trac biotechnology department. The school is non-degree granting and therefore technically has no graduates. However, since 2004, 14 students have completed the certificate in technology transfer, the only other certificate program FAES offers. In all, some 200 courses are offered a year, with enrollment averaging 1,400 to 2,000 students.—Jan Ehrman