CPH Responsiveness Uniquely Meets State Education Mandates for Practicing Epidemiologists
A requirement to receive federal Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) funding has bolstered collaborations between the CPH and local health departments. The PHEP funding mandates that epidemiologists with a bachelor’s degree working in public health capacities in local health departments (LHDs) in Ohio complete at least one graduate level course in epidemiology or biostatistics within 12 months of being hired and continue to build skills annually by participating in graduate coursework in epidemiology/public health/statistics courses such as those offered as part of an MPH curriculum.
The CPH responded to this need and offered a 7-week, 100% online graduate level course in epidemiology tailored to practicing epidemiologists, which allowed LHDs to use federal funds to pay for staff to attend the course. Any LHD staff designated as a PHEP epidemiologist with a bachelor’s degree was offered enrollment as a “graduate guest student” to take the online Fundamentals of Public Health Epidemiology taught by faculty member Dr. Heather Beaird (Epi). The requirement for applicants to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test results is waived for guest students. The credit hours earned by individuals successfully completing the course can be applied to an MPH degree should they later decide to pursue it. Eight LHD epidemiologists took Dr. Beaird's course to meet these training requirements.
CPH’s ability to nimbly respond to the educational needs of working adults situates its online epidemiology and biostatistics courses as convenient, accessible sources of ongoing education and training for Ohio's practicing epidemiologists. “Dr. Beaird was the perfect faculty member to teach this course,” according to Assistant Dean Ken Slenkovich. “She formerly worked as the chief epidemiologist for Summit County Public Health.”