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Distance learners visit campus for intensive training

| Monday Letter, Online Programs, Our People, Public Health Practice

More than thirty students in the USF College of Public Health’s executive and online MPH degree programs recently convened in Tampa.  They traveled from as far away as St. Lucia and California to participate in an intensive, five-day course.

Public Health Seminar (PHC 6930) serves as a capstone course requirement for students enrolled in the weekend and online MPH programs in public health practice, public health administration, and disaster management and humanitarian assistance.

“The course is offered 1-2 times a year and usually brings students to campus for the first time in their degree program,” said Ms. Somer Goad Burke, MPH, CHES, CPH, assistant director of public health practice program.  “Many of them were classmates in online courses and enjoy the opportunity to meet face-to-face in a classroom environment.”

Professor Adewale Troutman, MD, MPH, NA, CPH, directs the college’s Center for Leadership in Public Health, as well as the Public Health Practice Program, which offers a MPH degree in online and executive weekend formats.  As president of the American Public Health Association, Dr. Troutman led the course from February 6-10 and brought a unique perspective to class.

Guest lecturers included Donna Petersen, ScD, dean of the USF College of Public Health; Hana Osman, PhD, assistant professor and director of the USF Sunshine ERC; and, Dave Rogoff MHA, BSIE, director of the CLPHP; as well representatives from the college’s five academic departments.  Additionally, two leaders from the local community shared their expertise with the eager students.  Lissette Campos, director of community affairs for ABC Action News, stressed the importance of public health in the media. And, Deborah Austin, PhD, taught a module on coalition building. Dr. Austin is the director of communication and community outreach for with ReachUp, Inc.

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USF is at the forefront of providing quality education in a virtual format and the College of Public Health is helping lead this effort. In August, the College’s advances in distance learning were featured in The Nation’s Health.

“At the University of South Florida College of Public Health, enrollment in online public health degree programs has more than doubled since the middle of the last decade. The university was one of the first to offer distance-based public health education. It began in 1993 with satellite-delivered courses to 33 health departments across Florida,” said Deanna Wathington, MD, MPH, associate dean for academic and student affairs at the College of Public Health. “Today, the college offers more than 70 courses that are fully online, including six online master’s degrees and 10 online graduate certificates with student enrollments of approximately 4,000 students per semester.”

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