What is the PA / MPH Curriculum?

The PA / MPH is a 40-month, on-campus program. Joint PA/ MPH students complete the following curriculum:

The dual program curriculum consists of 27 hours of Master of Public Health core courses, (including 6 hours of Service / Learning and Capstone work). Each student will complete a broad range of public health courses in disciplines including epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, health behavior and health policy, plus 12 hours of courses in Community-Oriented Primary Care.

All joint PA / MPH students complete the concentration in Community- Oriented Primary Care (COPC) within the Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health. The MPH concentration in COPC is designed to provide students with knowledge, tools, and skills in community orientation of health services. COPC integrates clinical individual care and public health, allowing both approaches to be implemented and carried out by a single team. The conceptual framework of COPC and the curriculum of this concentration are oriented to the implementation of community health care programs as a component of public health. The required COPC courses are:

CPH 551 Community-Oriented Primary Care: Principles and Practice - 3 credit hours
CPH 552 Opportunities and Challenges in the Application of COPC - 3 credit hours
CPH 626 Health Information and Surveillance for Public Health Practice - 3 credit hours
CPH 545 Health Disparities and Health Equity - 3 credit hours

Course descriptions for all courses and departments can be found in the College of Public Health Student Handbook.

UNMC Joint PA / MPH students carry their public health expertise into their clinical year. All UNMC physician assistant students are required to spend three consecutive months at a rural family practice site during the clinical phase of the program. The dual degree students will spend a total of four consecutive months at a selected rural site to complete the PA Program requirement and to allow students ample time to complete the MPH Service Learning/Capstone Experience requirement. The Service Learning/Capstone Experience provides you the opportunity to put public health theory into practice and provide community service with a focus on Community Oriented Primary Care. 

Throughout the clinical phase of the Physician Assistant Program, students will find ample opportunity to integrate public health concepts into the practice of medicine. Common public health issues faced in clinical practice include vaccine refusal, sexually transmitted infections, the impact of air quality on pulmonary patients, and lack of health insurance. Students with public health training will be able to share their expertise in these topics with, and learn from, the patients and staff at their clinical sites.