An integral component of the new MPH curriculum, small group sessions called the “Integration of Science and Practice” bridge the gap between what you traditionally learn in a classroom and the real-world experience of working as a public health professional.
The curriculum consists largely of case studies drawn from recent history and current events. This learning approach, sometimes called the “case method,” will provide opportunities for you to apply facts and information to solve complex problems. Through this process you will gain skills critical to professional success, such as negotiation, persuasion, team thinking, public speaking, and critical judgment.
You will analyze the cases in small interdisciplinary teams of 20 that include students from other academic departments, guided by a faculty member and a teaching assistant. Over the course of three semesters you will have an invaluable opportunity to get to know your ISP professor, teaching assistant, and teammates as you grapple with challenges and dilemmas that public health professionals have actually confronted.
Through these cases you will face the tough questions of public health: What happens when programs intended to improve the health of a community conflict with local values and traditions? Where does state control end and individual liberty begin? In a world of ever-evolving scientific knowledge, when do we have adequate evidence to recommend policies that keep people safe?
Assignments will be in the form of labs. You may be asked to write a policy brief, identify what evidence is missing or necessary to make a decision, plan a media briefing, find citations in the scientific literature relevant to a case study, or identify the key aspects of an effective health intervention program. Both the nature of these labs and the teamwork involved will hone your problem-solving skills and your ability to apply public health theory to professional practice.