Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Join APTR
APTR Directory Search
Framing the Future-MPH Programs

The Association for Prevention Teaching and Research is pleased to have the following representatives serve on the Framing the Future Task Force:

Anthony Schlaff,MD, MPH
President, APTR
Director, Public Health Program
Tufts University School of Medicine
Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH
Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences
University of Virginia School of Medicine


David I. Gregorio, ScD
University of Connecticut Health Center
Director, Graduate Program in Public Health
The task force, convened by the Association for Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), intends to rethink the continuum of education in public health from undergraduate through doctoral levels, from interdisciplinary and interprofessional perspectives.

The Framing the Future Task Force tasked a Master of Public Health (MPH) Expert Panel with updating the MPH degree.  In January, the panel released their report titled, "A Master of Public Health Degree for the 21st Century: Key Considerations, Design Features, and Critical Content of the Core.” This report is intended to be a consensus document that will have a key role in affecting CEPH’s future deliberations on the shape of public health education.

APTR Position

It is critical that ASPPH and the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) hear from programs and faculty with concerns about the proposed direction of this report. The major thrust of the report is to shift the focus of the MPH degree away from a common core and towards specialization.

This approach is summarized in the following four statements taken from the report:

  1. The MPH should be designed as an advanced degree focused on specialist education that is directly responsive to the needs of students and their prospective employers.

  2. An in-depth concentration should be a distinguishing element of a 21st century MPH degree.

  3. The core should typically comprise no more than a third of the content or credits of a newly designed PH degree but may be more…

  4. The practicum and the culminating experience in the MPH degree should be considered primarily as elements of the concentration rather than as elements of the core.

The report explicitly states that core competencies, some of which are listed below should be taught, "at the level of knowledge and comprehension,” whereas specialty competencies should aim at, "higher levels of learning including analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.”

Partial list of core competencies listed by the report, to be taught at the level of knowledge and comprehension:

a) Concepts, methods, and tools of public health data collection, analysis and interpretation.

b) Evidence-based reasoning and informatics approaches.

c) Population health …..approaches, and interventions that identify and address the major health-related needs and concerns of populations.

d) Concepts of project implementation and management.

e) Public health-specific communication and social marketing, including technical and professional writing and the use of mass media and electronic technology.

f) Respectful engagement with people of different cultures and socioeconomic strata.

g) Principles of effective functioning within and across organizations and as members of interdisciplinary and interprofessional teams.

The report makes no mention of combined degrees, and how, if at all, the curriculum relates to those with other disciplinary expertise seeking to also study public health.

Please share this report with your faculty and your practice partners.  If you think the core competencies, including the ones listed above, should be mastered at a higher level than comprehension, and/or if you think the combined degrees need to be considered in any attempts to re-design the MPH, it is critical that your voice be heard.

This topic will be discussed during the business meeting of the Council of Graduate Programs in Public Health and as a session during the APTR Annual Meeting, Teaching Prevention 2014: Convergence of Technology, Innovation and Collaboration in Washington DC, March 20-21.

Provide Your Comments/Input

APTR has created two avenues for providing feedback. 

  • Members of the Council of Graduate Programs in Public Health may post to a forum to have an online discussion
Framing the Future-MPH Programs Forum
  • Fill-out the from below-available for use by all:

1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 610  |  Washington, DC 20036

About APTR | Membership | Education Fund