Friday, October 14, 2011
Guest Commentary: JSPH's Academic Programs are Thriving
Caroline Golab, PhD
Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs
Jefferson School of Population Health
This September, the Jefferson School of Population Health (JSPH) welcomed 185 new and returning students to a combination of on-site, off-site, and online courses – an 80%increase in enrollment over September 2010. And this is only our third year of operation!
In addition to our PhD program in Population Health Sciences and our Master’s degree and certificate programs in public health, health policy, healthcare quality & safety, and chronic care management, we introduced two new degree programs – a Master of Science in Healthcare Quality and Safety Management (MS-HQSM) and a Master of Science in Applied Health Economics and Outcomes Research (MS-AHEOR). We have also developed programs in healthcare risk management, scheduled for debut in fall 2012.
The MS-HQSM, offered in cooperation with the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE), is designed specifically for physician leaders and addresses the national need for executive leadership in healthcare quality and patient safety. It equips physician leaders with tools, methods, knowledge, and strategies necessary for this task. The MS-AHEOR builds on Jefferson’s more than twenty years of experience and expertise in health outcomes research. It meets the growing need for professionals to evaluate and measure health outcomes (both physical and humanistic) and to ascertain economic consequences of health care interventions by determining optimal clinical effectiveness, comparative effectiveness, and economic value.
The 2011-2012 academic season also represents our second year of asynchronous online course delivery to a national audience. The introduction of online programs followed an extensive period of preparation that included adoption of a nationally recognized rubric (Quality Matters) and development of a mandatory comprehensive faculty training program (CATS) to assure excellence in online course design and instruction. Often to their surprise, both students and faculty have discovered that online learning provides exceptional opportunities for increased collaboration, community building, and enhanced learning outcomes – all items near and dear to our educational mission.
Through curriculum development and consultation, JSPH will continue to support the College within a College (CwiC) program for 50+ first- and second-year medical students enrolled in Jefferson Medical College. A co-curricular activity partially funded through a HRSA grant, CwiC enables these JMC students to complete six credits toward a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in conjunction with their medical education. The goal of this initiative is to encourage medical students to complete coursework for the MPH degree prior to their graduation from Jefferson Medical College.
For the fifth year, we have successfully recruited and obtained funding to support fourteen Fellows as part of the Greater Philadelphia Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Program. The mission of the Schweitzer Fellowships is to encourage students in various health-related professions to become “leaders in service” and, by their example, to inspire others in addressing the health needs of underserved communities.
Finally, as the new School year starts, we are already planning next summer’s Global Health Academy, a four-week summer didactic and hands-on experience for high school students. Successfully launched this past summer under the guidance of Jefferson faculty and outside experts, students from local high schools studied major challenges to global health – everything from infectious diseases, natural disasters, water shortages, and healthcare delivery systems to the international resources, agencies and technologies that respond to these challenges. We believe it’s never too early to find and nourish future leaders in population health.