Debut of Master of Health Sciences at OU

 Oakland University has added its first graduate program for health sciences.

The process to create the masters of public health program began in Jan. 2012 through surveying students to see if there was an interest in the program and gaining accreditation.

The course is 44 credits in length and can be completed in two years of full-time study.

Program director, Patricia Wren, Ph.D, M.P.H, had an analogy for the work behind creating this program.

“When you do all that it’s like a cake recipe,” Wren said. “You have all those ingredients and a good team of bakers behind you. At the end of the day—bing, the timer sounds and you have this awesome cake called, the master of public health program.”


Inaugural Class

The program debuted in fall 2013. The inaugural class consists of 12 students.

So far they are taking Public Health 600 with Wren, which is where they are learning about different theories explaining why people do what they do in health care, or health related decisions. They are also taking Public Health 610 with Dr. Rebecca Cheezum. That course offers students practice in research and data collection.

“They are a lively, engaged group, they come to class and challenge us,” Wren said. “They are keeping Rebecca and me on our toes, which has to be a good thing.”

The class is from a wide-range of professional experience and degrees.

“From public relations to engineering and pretty much any major could feed into health care,” Wren said. “When your colleagues in class say, ‘what am I going to do after this,’ send them over to us,” Wren said. “


Summer Break Practicum

In the summer between their first and second year in the master’s program students will get the opportunity to participate in a practicum.

“The best way to describe the practicum is the coolest summer break you can plan for yourself,” Wren said.  

With the help of an advisor, the student will pick an organization to intern at and get first-hand experience in their field.

Wren hopes this program will help give back to the community in years to come.

“It’s an opportunity for us to give back. We have to earn this beautiful Human Health Building (HHB) day by day,” Wren said. “Part of the way we will earn this trust that we were given, in the form of this building, is to raise peoples health and the quality and quantity of life.”

Applications for next fall are due Feb. 1. If students are interested there are information fairs throughout the year, or they can stop by HHB and check them out.