There are many reasons why a Master of Public Health (MPH) from San José State University (SJSU) stands out. Heart and history are just two of them. Developed in 1970, the programme may have evolved exponentially over time; but, its values have remained. For example, co-founder Dorothy Nyswander advocated diversity back in the ’60s when hardly anyone else was. She jotted her insights and published them to the world — many of which are still discussed in SJSU MPH classrooms.
A strong emphasis on community health promotion and an unwavering dedication to public health advocacy are precisely why passionate graduate Dr. Robert Rinck, grew to love SJSU. He didn’t want to leave. As an MPH student, he looked into cancer research before doctors identified a tumour in his colon. “It was interesting to research something, actually live it and then come to the realisation that I wasn’t the only one going through this,” he says. “I felt inspired to turn my challenge into an educational experience while pledging to live an adventure-filled life.”
Hence, Rinck’s decision to spend his MPH internship in Sydney, Australia, working with a refugee youth soccer programme alongside the University of New South Wales School of Public Health and Community Medicine. “It was a magical experience,” he says. “I got to work with people from all over the world, from Malaysia to Sierra Leone. Hearing about their lives and experiences opened my eyes to realise that even though I was fortunate to live in the SF Bay Area and work in diverse communities, there is a larger world out there with amazing communities that need to be heard more widely and embraced for their unique perspectives and solutions to world-wide issues.”
Once Rinck graduated, he took some time off to travel, work with different grants, explore and support various communities, and develop a broader understanding of public health. Once he was ready, he returned to SJSU for the long haul. Today, he is the MPH Fieldwork Coordinator, working with employers and organisations to ensure all students receive the mind-opening, real-world experiences they desire to explore public health practices in a variety of innovative ways.
The SJSU MPH Programme with a specialisation in community health education has been continuously accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, the governing body for schools and programs of public health in the U.S., since 1974. The programme is delivered in two formats: On Campus (regular session) and Online (through the College of Professional and Global Education). Thus, working professionals looking to enhance their public health careers will not have to put their personal circumstances or existing responsibilities aside to do so.
Apart from being one of the most affordable degree programmes in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Programme’s monumental mission plays a vital role in attracting diverse, accomplished academics and professionals with extensive resumes. The Programme prepares students and graduates with the knowledge, conceptual frameworks, health education and public health competencies to develop programmes, build community capacity, advocate policy for health equity and contribute to evidence-based public health practice.
The Programme’s ultimate goal, however, is to achieve public health and social justice through planned, organised, and empowering community efforts. Sophina McDaniel is on the same page. As a programme manager at Stanford Health Care, her clients were predominantly women with too many stories to share on their physical and mental health challenges. As a mother, she had to watch her youngest daughter grow up with Trisomy 21. These interactions and circumstances opened her eyes to the importance of community support and public health education.
The SJSU MPH’s flexible format made it an obvious choice. By choosing it, McDaniel would be able to care for her children while maintaining her job. “As an applied kinesthetic learner, I find value in implementing what is learned in my courses at work,” she says. “It’s how I learn best.”
Immersed and engaged, McDaniel began finding her most challenging lessons to be the most stimulating — specifically those in the Public HealthTheory, as well as Health Systems and Policy. All sessions have contributed to her ability to easily wear several world-changing hats.
She’s on her older daughter’s school council and an active member of the Silicon Valley Down Syndrome Network. At work, she manages four programmes focused on bringing the arts to patients at Stanford Health Care. She runs Girlz on Fire, a summer programme designed to give young girls a safe space to learn more about their health. Soon, McDaniel plans to rewrite the programme to focus more on advocacy.
Such initiatives are typical of SJSU MPH Programme students and graduates. For example, graduate Arden Castle worked at The HPP Journal for her MPH internship before starting a podcast that features top health educators and professionals across the US. In 2021, fellow graduates Jennifer Galang and Rhonda McClinton-Brown won the Silicon Valley Non-Profit Impact Awards — both hold prominent roles in the public health field and regularly welcome SJSU MPH students as interns, much like a majority of other graduates who are currently working in city, county, state, and federal public health departments.
A fulfilling career can be yours as well if you choose the route they did. In fact, a recent survey analysis highlighted that after just one year of graduating, 94% of MPH alumni achieved a promotion or landed a new position within the public health field. To fast-track your journey to joining them, click here to apply.
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