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New GRU degree track to focus on environmental health

By   /   March 6, 2013  /   Comments

Special to the Journal

AUGUSTA, Ga. – A master’s-level degree track at Georgia Regents University designed to address environmental health concerns will soon enroll its first students.

Dr. Pavani Rangachari

A Master of Public Health concentration in Environmental Health will become the third M.P.H. track offered jointly by GRU’s Colleges of Allied Health Sciences and Graduate Studies. Up to 20 students with clinical and non-clinical backgrounds will begin the two-year program this fall to learn multidisciplinary skills needed to become qualified in the fast-growing environmental health field.

“This program focuses on environmental factors that affect community health,” said Dr. Andrew Balas, Dean of the College of Allied Health Sciences. “Graduates understand the biological, physical and chemical agents present in environments, how they affect community health and how to control exposure.”

Environmental health professionals may conduct data analysis; create disease-prevention programs; educate health care providers; conduct research to promote evidence-based quality improvement; integrate preventive medicine into clinical practice; and perform community wellness outreach efforts. They often hold leadership roles in environmental health agencies, health care organizations, research institutes and the pharmaceutical and information technology industries.

An M.P.H. from GRU offers a broad interdisciplinary knowledge base and skill set, said Program Director Pavani Rangachari. “It enables a very different way of thinking. Environmental health professionals use a living environment perspective to promote public health and effectively influence communities to improve health and wellness.”

Core public health courses such as health administration and policy, behavioral health, biostatistics and epidemiology are augmented with niche courses in environmental toxicology, evidence-based quality improvement, data analysis, financial management, health literacy and infectious diseases.

GRU’s M.P.H. program also offers concentrations in Health Management and Health Informatics. Students are accepted with backgrounds in such diverse fields as medicine, nursing, allied health, finance, engineering and information systems.

The program is accredited by the Council of Education in Public Health and may be completed part-time. Seventy-five percent of classes are offered online. A public health internship and a capstone research project are included.

Internship opportunities are available through the GRU Health System, the Charlie Norwood Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Eisenhower Army Medical Center, the East Central Public Health Division, the Georgia Prevention Center and Georgia’s Area Health Education Centers.

For more information, contact Rangachari at 706-721-3436 or prangachari@gru.edu, or visit www.gru.edu/alliedhealth/MPH/.

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