Andrews University begins accreditation for Master of Public Health Program

This summer, Andrews University applied to begin the accreditation process of their Master of Public Health in Nutrition and Wellness degree program, through the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). In late September, they learned that their request had been approved.

The accreditation process includes a two year self-study and submission of a self-study document, followed by an onsite peer review by an independent team from CEPH. In the Department of Public Health and Wellness, professors Gretchen Krivak and Fiona Lewis are conducting the self-study, along with faculty members in the Department of Public Health and the Director of Institutional Effectiveness. Five months after the self-study document is submitted, the CEPH site visit will occur.

In 2012, Andrews University created the School of Health Professions. Not long after, said Emmanuel Rudatsikira, dean of the School of Health Professions, the leadership decided to start a Master of Public Health degree program, in order to meet the high demand for public health professionals in the workforce.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that public health employment is expected to increase by 37 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is above the 14 percent growth average of most occupations. Adding 23,200 new jobs in a 10 year span, these statistics are part of the reason, Rudatsikira said, that the school’s leadership chose to create the MPH program.

In the fall of 2013, the first cohort of students in this program began their studies. The first group includes 25 students and they come from Barbados, the United States, Guadeloupe, Sweden and Trinidad. “Enrollment for the current cohort exceeded our projection by 108 percent,” Rudatsikira said. “We thank God for blessing the joint effort of three schools: Andrews University’s School of Distance Education, School of Graduate Studies & Research, and School of Health Professions.”

Offered entirely online and at a 50% tuition discount, the MPH program requires completion of 42 credit hours and students can complete their studies in just three years. The degree program is a result of a partnership of three schools within the university: the School of Distance Education, the School of Graduate Studies and Research, and the School of Health Professions.

The program at Andrews University stands out from others offered online across the country, university representatives say, because the program emphasizes a vegetarian lifestyle and wellness. Rudatsikira said that this program is the first of its kind in the United States, offered entirely online and focusing on nutrition and wellness.

“This program will prepare health professionals for service in the community and church by building knowledge and skills necessary to enhance the health of human populations and promote a healthy lifestyle through personal and community efforts,” Rudatsikira said.

Andrews University is a private Christian School in Berrien Springs, Mich. It is affiliated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church. It was founded in 1874. “U.S. News and World Report” ranked Andrews University as one of the Best Colleges in 2010. The online graduate business and graduate education programs were also ranked in the top 150 schools in the nation that same year.

About April Bamburg

April is a freelance writer in Vernonia, Oregon. For the past seven years, she has written about education issues, community events and life in small towns for newspapers in St. Helens and Newport, OR.