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Who Will Keep the Public Healthy? The Case for Undergraduate Public Health Education: A Review of Three Programs

Bass, Sarah Bauerle PhD; Guttmacher, Sally MPH, PhD; Nezami, Elahe MPH, PhD

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: January/February 2008 - Volume 14 - Issue 1 - p 6–14
doi: 10.1097/01.PHH.0000303407.81732.02

While most universities have focused on graduate education to create public health leaders, undergraduate public health education is another way to ensure a prepared workforce at all levels. This article provides examples of three Council on Education for Public Health accredited graduate programs outside schools of public health (University of Southern California, Temple University, and New York University) that also offer undergraduate public health education, one that is in its first year of offering a public health minor, and the other two offering majors and minors. Although these programs come from different philosophies, all have an underlying mission to influence how public health is understood. Considering the current need for public health workers, we anticipate that most higher education institutions will soon offer undergraduate public health courses. These programs must be mindful, however, of newly emerging accreditation requirements, which might have implications for both established and newly developing undergraduate public health programs, as well as articulation issues between undergraduate- and graduate-level master of public health programs. An examination of existing programs, as well as a discussion of accreditation requirements and articulation issues, will help institutions create curricula that meet their students' educational needs as well as the need for a strong public health workforce.

This article reviews three programs for undergraduate public health education to meet students' educational needs as well as the need for a strong public health workforce.

Sarah Bauerle Bass, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health, College of Health Professions, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Sally Guttmacher, MPH, PhD, is Professor and Director, Community Public Health Program, Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University, New York.

Elahe Nezami, MPH, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Clinical, Preventive Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, University Park, Los Angeles.

Corresponding Author: Sarah Bauerle Bass, MPH, PhD, Department of Public Health, Temple University, 1700 N Broad St, Suite 304, Philadelphia, PA 19122 (

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.