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masters graduates
Newest public health heros—Fall 2022 graduates

The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the importance of public health in Hawaiʻi, creating an uptick in demand from professionals of diverse backgrounds to change or upgrade their careers, and community leaders looking to fill critical positions. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has responded to that need with its new online master of public health (MPH) with a specialization in health policy and management.

The application deadline has been extended with a priority deadline of March 1, for candidates interested in enrolling in the program’s inaugural fall 2022 semester. Apply here (PDF).

“There has been a growing demand in the community for public health jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tetine Sentell, interim dean of the Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health. “From professionals already in the health sector looking to improve their skills and credentials, to those wanting to pivot to a new job and serve their communities, to those who have always wanted to attain a master’s degree but had no time due to other priorities, this degree was created for you.”

Online degree provides option for busy professionals

Geared for busy professionals, the degree offered through the Office of Public Health Studies and Outreach College is a new pathway to an MPH, and can be completed in as early as 21 months. Asynchronous classes offered online allow for flexible, year-round learning, and enables students to pursue a master’s degree at their own pace. Breaks are also built into the program calendar so students can take time needed away from coursework.

“Twenty years ago, I was both a full-time student in public health at UH Mānoa and a physician in Kalihi. The mixture of work and study was so rewarding, and I would highly recommend it!” said MPH alumnus David Derauf, who serves as executive director of Kōkua Kalihi Valley and is a member of the Thompson School dean’s advisory council. “The option to attend online with asynchronous classes makes doing so much more in reach of those who already have a career.”

Flexibility for students near and far

Associate Professor Elizabeth McFarlane, online MPH program director, said the new degree also benefits many prospective students to be able to attend classes at UH Mānoa.

“Because it’s also offered online, those on the neighbor islands, the U.S. mainland, and Guam, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands can earn their degree, in most part, from the comfort of their own homes.”

Health policy and management is a diverse specialization that will prepare graduates for careers across the health services continuum—from policy development, program planning, implementation and management, program and policy evaluation, and health systems leadership to achieve intended health outcomes and address health challenges in the state of Hawaiʻi, the Asia-Pacific region and around the world.

Get step-by-step application instructions (PDF).

This is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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