History of the MPH Program

The MPH at the University of Virginia was approved in the spring of 2003 and is structured as a terminal degree offered individually or jointly with other professional degrees. Created as an interdisciplinary program, it draws upon the strengths of UVA faculty within the the Schools of Medicine, Arts & Sciences, Nursing, Law, Business, Education, and Architecture as well as the larger university community.

Evolution of the MPH Program

The Master of Public Health (MPH) Degree Program was approved in the Spring of 2003 by the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, with the degree awarded by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS) and based in the School of Medicine (SOM).  Faculty in the SOM Department of Health Evaluation Sciences administered, taught, and had financial responsibility for the MPH Program. Approval of the MPH degree in GSAS was based on the University’s tradition that the SOM only awarded the M.D. degree, and that all other SOM-based degrees, including doctoral degrees in basic sciences, were awarded officially by GSAS. In 2017, the SOM began awarding the MPH degree and other SOM-based degrees.

Timeline

  • 1999-2001: Public Health Faculty Working Group. A multidisciplinary faculty interest group sponsored by the University’s Institute for Practical Ethics meets to explore new courses in public health ethics, law, and policy, and goals for a potential public health program.
  • 2002: Public Health Strategic Planning Committee. Dean Arthur Garson, School of Medicine (SOM) formalizes the Public Health Strategic Planning Committee that recommends an MPH degree be developed by the SOM Department of Health Evaluation Sciences. In addition to Garson, the Planning Committee members were James Childress and Ruth Gaare Bernheim from the University’s Institute for Practical Ethics, William Knaus from the SOM Department of Health Evaluation Sciences, and Richard Bonnie from the School of Law.
  • 2003 (January): University of Virginia Board of Visitors approves the establishment of the new MPH degree, awarded by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). The MPH Program was led by Founding Director, Ruth Gaare Bernheim, and administered and taught by faculty in the Department of Health Evaluation Sciences, and by other faculty from across the University.
  • 2003 (April): State Council for Higher Education for Virginia approves MPH degree.
  • 2005: Department Home Name Change: Chair and faculty of DHES, in consultation with the SOM Dean, change the department name to the Department of Public Health Sciences (DPHS), with subsequent approval by the Vice-President and Provost and UVa Board of Visitors.
  • 2005: CEPH Accreditation Self-Study. The MPH Faculty Advisory Committee completes a program Self-Study, which includes a new statement of mission, goals, and objectives, and submits first report to CEPH.
  • 2006: CEPH Accreditation. The MPH Program is fully accredited by CEPH through June 2009.
  • 2008: CEPH Accreditation. The MPH Program accreditation is extended through June 2011.
  • 2011: CEPH Accreditation. The MPH Program accreditation is extended by CEPH through 2018.
  • 2017: MPH Degree Awarded by School of Medicine. The awarding of the MPH degree is transferred from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to the School of Medicine, along with the transfer of all other SOM-administered graduate degrees. The School of Medicine was the administrative and academic home of the MPH degree since its establishment in 2003.