MISSOULA – The University of Montana has established a new doctoral program in public health.
Approved by the Montana Board of Regents during its last meeting, the new Ph.D. program will train highly qualified public health specialists. The degree will be offered by UM’s School of Public and Community Health Sciences.
“This degree capitalizes on the existing certificate and master’s level degree programs offered at UM and responds to the need for highly qualified public health specialists in the state,” said Tony Ward, chair of the School of Public and Community Health Sciences. “This program also meets the workforce needs of a public health field that is rapidly growing nationally and globally.”
He said that while the Zika virus epidemic has recently received media publicity throughout the world, populations continue to struggle with common public health issues associated with infectious diseases, climate change, overpopulation and the lack of basic resources such as clean water.
Closer to home, Montana faces many unique challenges related to the rural nature of the population. Public health issues linked to resource extraction, health disparities among the state’s Native American populations and the lack of access to basic medical services for many rural Montanans are significant local and regional public health issues.
“These global and local issues all underscore the need for new public health professionals to combat the numerous existing and emerging problems impacting human health,” Ward said.
Applications for the first class of up to five students are currently under review for entry into the program for spring semester 2017. The next cohort of up to five students will be accepted in fall 2017.