Accreditation which helps more than just the university

Sadie Layher, Staff Reporter

After a multiple year evaluation, Oakland University’s Master’s of Public Health Program has become accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

The MPH program has been around for five years and started the lengthy accreditation process four years ago. Part of the evaluation process was doing a self-study of the program which was over 100 pages when it was completed. There was also a two-day visit by CEPH which included asking the students questions as part of the evaluation process. The accreditation will last five years until 2023.

It is a hope from professors teaching the program that the accreditation will entice more students to choose OU’s program. Other schools with the same achievement include the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

“It’s setting the standard and shows that Oakland has a high standard of learning,” said Jennifer McCullough, graduate student in the MPH program.

The program is interdisciplinary and accepts many applicants. The program is then split into different cohorts based on concentration which consist of about 15-20 students. This graduate program is two years long and prepares students to improve the health of local communities. Since the program is young, there are many options for growth.

“We would like to create partnerships with different health departments and to create certificate programs,” Professor Rebecca Cheezum said.

Accreditation is vital for current students not just future potential students looking for a great MPH program according to Cheezum. Some employers after graduation only want applicants from accredited programs, and especially students who have hands on experience and exceptional knowledge about and in the field.

Cheezum led the effort in becoming accredited. She was building a program from the ground up while also completing a self-study of the program by following CEPH’s guidelines. This involved learning how to collect the correct data while teaching others how to as well.

“The whole experience was very exciting…it involved lots of stress and was a crazy ride but the magnitude of this accomplishment is important,” McCullough said.

During the time of the self-study there were only 33 students enrolled in the program. The application process consists of a transcript, a requirement of a 3.0 GPA and three letters of recommendation by the final deadline.

Cheezum noted that the Graduate Record Exams or GREs are no longer required in the application process. The first deadline was on Feb. 1 but the last deadline is not until June 1. Students can apply through the graduate studies website.

One of Oakland’s philosophies is community engagement whether it be a board that plans events or a new webpage with all of the information congregated in one spot. This master’s program is designed to engage with the community and bring talented individuals into the field to help their local community public health.

Good public health leads to good relations between neighbors, local schools and local businesses. With an accredited program, it will bring more ambitious individuals which will bring more money to the community and respond to the needs of public health.