School of Public Health offers new MPH in lifestyle medicine
Beginning in summer quarter 2008, the School of Public Health will offer a new degree that is the first of its kind in the country—a master’s of public health in lifestyle medicine.
This MPH degree is designed for applicants who have a clinical, professional degree; this would include medical doctors, dietitians, dentists, nurses, clinical psychologists, pharmacists, and others. It equips them with the missing link to go beyond fighting established disease to actually promoting health.
“We designed this degree for professionals who have an interest in deepening the scope of their practices through applying principles of lifestyle medicine,” says Serena Tonstad, MD, PhD, MPH, a professor in the department of health promotion and education and designer of the new degree.
Practitioners of lifestyle medicine help their clients improve lifestyle through factors such as nutrition, physical activity, and addiction recovery. They encourage patients to change attitudes and behaviors that may result—or have already resulted—in chronic disease.
Their work is undergirded by an understanding of population determinants of wellness, health, and disease. They conduct client interventions based on scientific data and established behavioral and learning theories.
“A full two-thirds of avoidable disease and premature death in our country are related to personal lifestyle choices,” says David Dyjack, DrPH, CIH, dean of the School of Public Health. “The lifestyle medicine MPH may over time come to represent the singularly most important degree the School of Public Health offers.”
In addition to skills in lifestyle medicine, the degree gives its students a firm foundation in the core areas of public health, including environmental health, global health, health administration, nutrition, and epidemiology.
The MPH coursework takes four to five academic quarters to complete. Students must also finish a 200-hour field practicum.
By Heather Reifsnyder