The Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Equity

The Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Equity is a 45-credit hour program that includes MPH core foundational competency courses and a range of other courses to choose from related to determinants of health equity. The program will be offered in an on-campus format with courses being offered in late afternoon and evening to accommodate work schedules.

The MPH in Health Equity is designed to accomplish the following goals and is based on the current work of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health and the Council on Education for Public Health:

  • Educate students so that they understand the core beliefs and functions of the profession and evidence-based science of Public Health
  • Educate students so that they understand the environmental, biological, genetic, behavioral and psychological factors, and globalization affects related to human health.

In addition to satisfying these goals, the MPH in Health Equity will be assessed based on the learning objectives and competencies listed for each individual course. Identified key domains and preliminary core constructs around which the assessment of the MPH Program will be assessed are:

  • Evidence-Based Approaches to Public Health
  • Public Health and Health Care Systems
  • Planning and Management to Promote Health
  • Policy in Public Health
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  •  Interprofessional Practice
  • Systems Thinking

Faculty and Staff:

Faculty members in the Department of Public Health Sciences include:

  • Dr. L. Faye Grimsley, PhD, MSPH – Environmental and Industrial Hygie
  • Dr. Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA – Endowed Chair in Public Health Sciences and 18th United States Surgeon General
  • Dr. Tyra Gross, PhD, MPH – Maternal and Child Health Disparities
  • Dr. Krista Mincey, DrPH, MPH – Mental Health and Health Disparities
  • Dr. Amy Thierry, PhD, MPH - Biobehavioral Health

Staff members:

  • Ms. Sierra Dixon, BS, MSPH
  • Ms. Kristina Wilcox, BS

Admission Requirements:

  • GRE or MCAT scores are preferred but not required
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • A minimum of 2.75 undergraduate GPA

Academic Program:

The curriculum will be closely structured to reflect the core of public health, with additional courses that will be geared towards health equities. The curriculum will require students to complete 45 hours and will have both a thesis and a non-thesis option.
Students will be required to complete 27 hours of required core courses that are listed below (Course Descriptions follow):

  • Environmental Health and Toxicological Issues (3 credits)
  • Epidemiologic Methods in Racial and Ethnic Disparities (3 credits)
  • Health Equity Principles and Practices (3 credits)
  • Applied Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • Public Health Policy (3 credits
  • Determinants of Heath Equity (3 credits)
  • Graduate Practicum and Capstone (9 hours)

In addition, students will also select 18 hours of Public Health Electives that include:

  • Current Issues in Health Equities Core Seminar (1 credit)
  • Community Based Research (2 credits)
  • Health Literacy and Cultural Communication (3 credits)
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods (3 credits)
  • Advanced Methods for Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Health Promotion Programs/ [Intervention Mapping] (3 credits)
  • Computer Applications [SPSS, STATA and GIS] (3 credits)
  • Collaborative Leadership (3 credits)
  • Independent Study (1, 2, or 3 credits)
  • Political Economy of Social Inequalities and its Consequences for Health and Quality of Life (3 credits)
  • Implementation of Research and Practice (3 credits)
  • Ethnicity, Race, Class & Gender: A Multicultural Public Health Perspective (3 credits)
  • Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Prevention (3 credits)
  • Infectious Disease Epidemiology (3 credits)

To speak to someone in the Public Health Department for more details and to receive additional information please call 504-520-6707.

MPH in Health Equity Course Descriptions


PHLT 5010 – Environmental Health and Toxicological Issues (3 credits):
This course provides an introduction to environmental (physical, chemical, biological) determinants that influence human health and means of controlling these determinants on the national and international level. Students examine basic concepts of toxicology as they apply to the effects of environmental agents, e.g. chemicals, metals, on public health. Students focus on the application of these concepts in understanding and prevention of morbidity and mortality resulting from environmental exposures to toxic substances through a case study format.  Prerequisite: None.

PHLT 5020 – Epidemiologic Methods in Racial and Ethnic Disparities (3 credits):
This course provides an overview of epidemiological principles and health issues related to race and health in modern U.S. society. Special emphasis is given to epidemiologic methods and perspectives in research studies examining race/ethnicity; demographic trends; mortality and life expectancy; and social, etiologic, biological, and genetic factors associated with health disparities by racial and ethnic group in the United States and in urban areas. Prerequisite: None.

PHLT 5030 – Health Equity Principles and Practices (3 credits):
Health equity is the goal of obtainment of health for all and fair distribution of resources. One must first understand how to identify and anticipate obstacles which contribute to health inequities, conduct evaluations of these obstacles, and determine best prevention and control methods for these obstacles. This course introduces the concepts and pragmatic principles of actions needed to strive for reducing inequities in health status.  Specific processes and factors that play a role in achieving health equity are identified and discussed.  Introduces skills needed to conduct health equity assessments. Prerequisite: None.

PHLT 5040 – Applied Biostatistics (3 credits):
Biostatistics is essential to ensuring that findings and practices in public health and biomedical sciences are supported by reliable evidence. This course covers the basic tools for the collection, analysis, and presentation of data in all areas of public health. Central to these skills is assessing the impact of chance and variability on the interpretation of research findings and subsequent recommendations for public health practice and policy and secondary data analysis. Topics covered include: descriptive analytic methods, general principles of study design; hypothesis testing; measures of validity and reliability, review of methods for comparison of discrete and continuous data including ANOVA, t-test, correlation, and regression. The application of the statistical methods will be relevant to health disparities and health equities.  This course is part of the core course requirement for the MPH. Prerequisite: None.

PHLT 5050 – Public Health Policy (3 credits):
Introduces students to the concepts and tools of health policy. Provides the opportunity to hear healthcare and health policy concerns from others and a chance to apply tools for policy analysis. Introduces skills necessary to be an effective policy analyst/policy advocate. Lectures illustrate policy issues with examples from many fields of health services ranging from medical care, to current public health issues including the Affordable Care Act and population health, as well as health service delivery improvement efforts with focus on policy issues and concerns in underserved and urban populations. Prerequisite: None.

PHLT 5060 – Determinants of Health Equity (3 credits):
This course introduces students to the biological, economic, environmental, and social determinants of health and measurement and evaluation of issues associated with these determinants and health outcomes.  Topics that will be covered include development of the outcomes framework, outcome measures, and risk adjustment of health outcomes, technical and practical issues with measurement and estimation, and empirical examples of healthcare outcomes research. Outcome and quality measures that will be covered include generic and condition-specific health status measures, satisfaction, patient trust, and patient adherence. Prerequisite: None.

PHLT 5999 – Graduate Practicum and Capstone (9 credits):
Internship with required culminating experience Capstone Project or Thesis. Prerequisite(s): 12 semester hours in public health or permission of instructor.



PHLT 5500  – Current Issues in Health Equities Core Seminar (1 credit):
This is a seminar course for students in the Health Equities concentration. The seminar is a venue for students to discuss current health equity issues in a supportive environment of peers, faculty, and health equity guest speakers. Prerequisite: None.

PHLT 5510  – Community Based Research (2 credit):
Introduces students to the range of community based research models, including community-based participatory research (CBPR), community engaged research (CEnR), with a focus on working with underserved and urban population.  Students will work with other disciplines and areas through inter-professional interactions to address health equity topics.  Offers knowledge of and skills that emphasize the importance of community inclusion and partnership for public health research.  Prerequisite: None.

PHLT 5520 – Health Literacy and Cultural Communication (3 credits):
This course will help students appreciate the literacy demand challenges presented in common print-based, web-based, mass media, and face to face communication during health encounters and approaches to their improvement. Introduces the broad areas of literacy and health literacy. Discusses approaches to the assessment of key health literacy skills linked to behavioral and health outcomes. Prepares students to create and evaluate print-based health education materials that are tailored for reading level and cultural awareness. Introduces frameworks suitable for literacy assessment of web-based health information and oral literacy demand of medical encounters. Prerequisite: None.

PHLT 5530 – Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods (3 credits):
Introduces students to practical skills needed for conducting qualitative and quantitative research and grant writing principles. Provides an overview of theoretical foundations of qualitative research and different methodologies for qualitative inquiry that enables students to develop, interpret, and evaluate three common qualitative data collection methods: in-depth interviews, focus groups, and observation. Emphasizes understanding the basic principles and techniques critical for conduct, including question formation, tool design, sampling, data generation, ethics, and quality. Prerequisite: None.

PHLT 5700 – Advanced Methods for Planning and Implementing and Evaluating Health Promotion Programs/ [Intervention Mapping] (3 credits):
This course integrates and extends the knowledge of behavioral science theory into planning models for health promotion programs for underserved and urban populations that include conducting a needs assessment, determination of priorities, setting goals, stating objectives, designing interventions, and developing an implementation plan. The teaching methods emphasize group process skills through modeling and guided practice applied to the planning process. Students work on health problems of their choice. Student evaluations include a guided written health promotion project plan and participation in class and group assignments. Prerequisite (s): 3 semester hours in public health or permission of instructor.

PHLT 5710  – Computer Applications [SPSS, STATA and GIS] (3 credits):
The purpose of this course is to teach two statistical computing applications and a geographical and spatial analytic application: Statistical Packages for the Social Sciences (SPSS), STATA, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are the three computing and graphic application software taught in this course. For SPSS and STATA, this course covers the basic and intermediate applications of both statistical programming applications. Students will learn how to apply these software for data management and analysis. Students will apply the knowledge and skills acquired to the generation of statistical reports using statistical methods ranging from descriptive statistics through analysis of variance (ANOVA).  For GIS, the course will cover applications of GIS software, such as ArcGIS, to create datasets, generate maps and conduct spatial analysis. Prerequisite (s): PHLT 5040 or permission of instructor.

PHLT 5720  – Collaborative Leadership (3 credits):
This course focuses on applying and evaluating leadership theories, concepts, and emerging perspectives; analyzing personal, professional, organizational, and system leadership dynamics in a rapidly changing and complex world; and discerning the implications of leadership decisions on public health and healthcare policies particularly when addressing issues with underserved populations. Prerequisite (s): 3 semester hours in public health or permission of instructor.

PHLT 5731 (1), 5732 (2), 5733 (3) – Independent Study (1-3 credits):
This course will provide an opportunity for a student to work with a faculty member on a public health area of study which is not currently covered in an existing course.  Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

PHLT 5740  – Political Economy of Social Inequalities and its Consequences for Health and Quality of Life (3 credits):
Focuses on the economic, financial, political, environmental, and social causes of health inequalities, on a local, national and global level, and their consequences on health and quality of life. Emphasizes the analysis of public policies that have been developed by national and international agencies and how they have impacted the growth of inequalities. Prerequisite (s): PHLT 5060 or permission of instructor.

PHLT 5750  – Implementation of Research and Practice (3 credits):
This course combines didactic methods and group activities to explore the concept of implementation science as it pertains to public health research and practice. Provides an overview of the concepts, tools, and methods used to advance implementation research and practice. Presents key principles of implementation science from a multidisciplinary perspective and provides practical applications of those principles in both practice and research-based settings. Prerequisite (s): PHLT 5530 or permission of instructor.

PHLT 5760  – Ethnicity, Race, Class & Gender: A Multicultural Public Health Perspective (3 credits):
This seminar-style course explores contemporary perspectives on ethnicity, race, social class and gender, specifically how these social identities are portrayed in the public health literature, particularly in the health disparities and health equity domain.  Students are expected to demonstrate in an oral presentation and in two take-home examinations, how concepts learned in class may be used to understand, review, and critique public health research conducted in the United States and in a global context. Prerequisite (s): PHLT 5060 and PHLT 5530.

PHLT 5770  – Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Prevention (3 credits):
This course provides an overview of evidence based approaches and concepts related to prevention strategies for chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, stroke, and cancers. The issues and concerns associated with preventing these diseases in underserved and urban populations will also be discussed.  Prerequisite (s): PHLT 5020 or permission of instructor.

PHLT 5780 – Infectious Disease Epidemiology (3 credits):
This course introduces epidemiologic aspects of infectious diseases and provides information regarding prevention and control of these diseases. At the end of the course, students have an understanding of the epidemiologic aspects of infectious diseases including incidence, distribution, and pattern of disease occurrence as well as different modes of transmission and associated risk factors. They should understand the importance of surveillance systems in detecting epidemics, the application of epidemiological methods to determine the risk and associated factors, and the significance of prevention and control programs for infectious diseases. Students gain knowledge and skills in carrying out epidemic investigations through a series of case study assignments. Prerequisite (s): PHLT 5020 or permission of instructor.

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