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Public Health Major

The Centers for Disease Control defines public health as the science of protecting and improving the health of families and communities through promotion of healthy behaviors, research for disease and injury prevention, and detection and control of infectious diseases. Overall, public health is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations that can be as small as a local neighborhood or as big as an entire country or region of the world. Public health professionals strive to prevent problems from happening or recurring through implementing educational programs, recommending policies, administering services, and conducting research—in contrast to clinical professionals like doctors and nurses, who focus primarily on treating individuals after they become sick or injured. Public health also works to limit health disparities. A large part of public health is promoting healthcare equity, quality, and accessibility.

The five core public health disciplines include 1) biostatistics, 2) epidemiology, 3) health policy, 4) the social and behavioral sciences, and 5) environmental health sciences. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the Public Health major has been designed to address all five core areas and has significant coursework toward students being capable of sitting for the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing’s CHES® exam.

Students completing the major will be well prepared to enter professional/graduate programs, such as those leading to a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) certification. Students will be equally prepared to enter the workforce, with job prospects in public and community health, health management or administration, health education, medicine, health programming, epidemiology, or other types of health-related research.

Skills Learned

The following 11 learning outcomes will be met through completion of a combination of courses at Cabrini.

Students will understand:

  • The history and philosophy of public health as well as its core values, concepts, and functions across the globe and in society
  • The basic concepts, methods, and tools of public health data collection, use, and analysis and why evidence-based approaches are an essential part of public health practice
  • The concepts of population health, and the basic processes, approaches, and interventions that identify and address the major health-related needs and concerns of populations
  • The underlying science of human health and disease including opportunities for promoting and protecting health across the life course
  • The socioeconomic, behavioral, biological, environmental, and other factors that impact human health and contribute to health disparities
  • The fundamental concepts and features of project implementation, including planning, assessment, and evaluation
  • The fundamental characteristics and organizational structures of the U.S. health system, as well as the differences in systems in other countries
  • The basic concepts of legal, ethical, economic, and regulatory dimensions of healthcare and public health policy and the roles, influences, and responsibilities of the different agencies and branches of government
  • The basic concepts of public health-specific communication, including technical and professional writing and the use of mass media and electronic technology

Students will demonstrate:

  • The ability to communicate public health information, in both oral and written forms and through a variety of media, to diverse audiences
  • The ability to locate, use, evaluate, and synthesize public health information

Degree Requirements

Quantitative Literacy (0-12): MAT 117Algebra and Trigonometry or higher and MAT 118Statistics (Students with developmental math skills may require completion of MAT 098/099 and/or 107)
Science Literacy course: BIO 101Biological Science I and BIO 102Biological Science II

Courses Credits
PBH 101—Health Professions Seminar  1
PBH 201Health Professions Seminar  1
PBH 218Introduction to Statistics and Research in Public Health  3
PBH 220Communication for Health Care Professionals  3
PBH 270Introduction to Public Health  3
PBH 301Health Professions Seminar  1
PBH 320Health Systems Organization  3
PBH 360Health Programming and Education  3
PBH 370Epidemiology  3
PBH 400Health Professions Senior Capstone  3
PBH 470Global Health Issues  3
PBH 488Health Professions Internship  3
BIO 353Environmental Health  3
ESH 220Health Promotion and Disease Prevention  3
POL 205Introduction to Political Science  3
POL 325Health Politics  3
SOC 215Introduction to Sociology: Race, Class and Gender  3
Three Public Health Electives  9


Public Health Major Electives

As Public Health is an interdisciplinary major, students may select electives from a wide variety of departments depending on their ultimate career/graduate school goals. Courses must be approved by the Department Chairperson. Courses must be related to one of the five major public health core themes. Select courses may be chosen from the following headings: PBH, BIO, CHE, ESH, POL, PHI, PSY, SOC, SOW. Students may (and are encouraged to) participate in a second PBH 488 Internship experience to fulfill one of the three major electives. The second internship must be at a different site and focus on a different core public health area (The five core public health areas include 1) biostatistics, 2) epidemiology, 3) health policy, 4) the social and behavioral sciences, and 5) environmental health sciences) in order to count toward filling one of the requirements.

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