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Public Health Matters

by Monica Smith

Jun 17, 2019, 9:00 AM.

FIU offers online master's degree for students seeking meaningful careers.

There’s one simple question you need to ask yourself when considering an advanced degree: “How can I contribute to the greater good?” While answers will vary from student to student, and interests will take people down many paths, a master’s degree in public health (MPH) offers a vast range of possibilities for graduates who want to make a profound difference in our quality of life.

This fully online degree, which can be completed in 18 months, is designed for multidisciplinary healthcare professionals and is a trending program among those who want a catalyst for professional advancement and want to work “together for the greater good.”

“Students in the online program will become fully prepared for positions in an array of areas that support public health,” says Dr. Elliot Sklar, director of academic public health programs at Stempel College. “This program enhances the skills and qualifications of professionals working in the healthcare sector.”

In line with FIU’s mission to provide increased access to top-ranked, affordable education, the online MPH, increases the access to education for students around the world.

“We are incredibly excited to expand our offerings to online learning, as we help develop the future leaders of the world. There is no on-campus component or residency with this program, making it a convenient and flexible option for working professionals looking for a prestigious and rigorous program. Our graduates will lead the research, programs, education, and policies that will help shape society,” said Dr. Tomás R. Guilarte, dean of Stempel College and professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences (EHS).

Highly Accredited, Respected

Stempel College, accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), is one of over 60 accredited schools of public health. The college’s MPH is highly respected and is the only generalist fully online MPH program in the region. FIU maintains the highest Carnegie classification for Institutions of Higher Education in research and the MPH program is a direct reflection of this recognition as it showcases a diverse pool of faculty members who work at the forefront of research, scholarship and programming in public health.

Meaningful Career Paths

Public health professionals are included in an enormous scope of industries, develop policy and advocate for those who need assistance beyond their own capabilities. They help keep people healthy and safe in many ways.

From monitoring, study and prevention, those in public health are involved in every aspect of the welfare of people, from research to policy. This is a multifaceted career choice that offers many overlapping interactions with multiple industries and fills an important role for our collective health and safety.

Careers in Public Health 

  • Epidemiologist
  • Biological scientist
  • Research associate
  • Research dietitian
  • Environmental researcher
  • Data analyst
  • Research/grant associate
  • Infectious disease specialist
  • Health educator
  • Case manager
  • Health and wellness specialist
  • Industrial hygienist
  • Public safety analyst
  • Patient security officer
  • Epidemic intelligence officer
  • Health behavior specialist
  • Government agency project manager or program director
  • Faculty

FIU Research

Public health is extremely important to our society. When you reflect on a few of the most recent public health headlines, you begin to understand the impact that a career in public health can have on communities.

Health Disparities

In minority populations, the number of individuals affected by HIV/AIDS is overwhelmingly disproportionate to the general population. This is especially true in low-income neighborhoods where there may be more obstacles to public health services for prevention and intervention. Because of this, those living in poverty suffer greater and more adverse consequences. This subject is the focus of a new center funded by a $13.1 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)—the largest award from NIH in university history. Dr. Eric F. Wagner, a professor in the School of Social Work, will lead the team’s research efforts, which are geared toward ending health disparities as the team learns from and works with communities in building effective solutions.


When the Zika virus threatened South Florida, public health educators mobilized with preventive awareness. At the same time, public health scientists released their research and guidance so physicians and nurses could be aware of symptoms and testing. Simultaneously, government stakeholders developed containment protocols based

on public health guidance for aerial spraying schedules that would deplete the infectious mosquito population. The travel industry also took heed with information from public health educators. And, after the Zika surge, there was a need to analyze the impact of the virus. FIU Stempel College’s Dr. Timothy F. Page, an associate professor in the  Department of Health Policy and Management, along with his colleagues, published the first study on the impact of Zika on businesses in an outbreak zone.

Lead Poisoning

With all of our advances in public health, lead poisoning remains a significant health problem within our nation. Statistics show that more than 250,000 children have elevated lead levels in their blood. Moreover, the cost to treat these children tops $43 billion. These U.S. statistics are minuscule in comparison to countries beyond our borders. In an effort to solve this public health issue that’s perplexed researchers for more than half a century, Dr. Tomás R. Guilarte, dean of Stempel College and professor in the Dept. of EHS, served as the principal investigator of a study funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Dr. Guilarte’s team discovered a potential therapy that could reverse the heavy metal’s harmful effects in children. He believes this is a “beacon of hope for developing novel approaches for a permanent reversal of damage” and is working on additional studies to confirm his results.

Improved Safety for LGBTQI/GNC

While support for marriage equality has influenced legislation shifts, violence against LGBTQI/GNC (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and gender non-conforming individuals) individuals has sharply increased. With news stories detailing gruesome hate crimes around the country, researchers at Stempel College, in partnership with The Ohio State University (OSU), banded together to study the challenges individuals in Miami-Dade County face. The aim of this two-year research project, funded with $503,583 from the National Institute of Justice-Department of Criminal Justice, is to improve public safety and assist police and prosecutors in developing protocols that will help them better process cases and support victims.

For more information about the online master’s degree, visit

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