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UL to establish School of Public Health

Authorities of the state-run University of Liberia (UL) are in the concluding stage for establishing three health programs at the institution. This followed a stakeholder’s meeting Thursday, 28 June at the UL

The three programs, namely; Certificate in Health System Leadership and Management (CHSLM), a Bachelor of Science degree program in Public Health (BScPH) and a Masters of Public Health (MPH) with focal areas, were approved by the University Faculty Senate in March this year.

According to a statement from the university, the approval marks the UL’s historic move towards establishing a School of Public Health (SPH), an initiative that will significantly enhance and expand locally trained capacity to better prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats and reduce risk of another outbreak as catastrophic as the Ebola virus disease crisis.

With the approval by the faculty senate, the UL statement says the next step would be a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, and its final decision.

“The curricula reflect an assessment of public health workforce needs in Liberia and an in-depth analysis of well-established programs globally, conducted under the leadership of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia and with the supporters of collaborators,” reads the statement.

It notes that the curricula have been designed in alignment with board requirements for international accreditation. According to the institution, ongoing conversations are being conducted with top-level universities in the United States to support faculty and research development in the inaugural years of the SPH.

“Graduates of the SPH will have participated in significant field work and research projects to ensure that they have the skills and knowledge to meaningfully contribute to the public health workforce in Liberia upon graduation.” The UL notes.

It explains the BScPH program is intended to prepare recent high school graduates with sufficient knowledge and training into public health workforce in entry-level positions in order to function effectively in those roles.

“For middle-level health professionals who have not completed a Bachelor’s degree, the BScPH Degree will also serve as a bridge program, offering opportunities for these professionals to complete undergraduate education and prepare them for graduate level programs such as the University of Liberia MPH Program,” the statement indicates.

UL discloses that the MPH program will run for two years (four semesters) plus one intersession period for full-time enrollees. “Classes will be in the evening hours and part-time enrollment is possible,. The program is designed to accept students with BSc degrees in Nursing, Midwifery, Physician Assistant, Environmental Health, Public Health, Management, Socialogy, Social Work, and other related areas.”

The CHSLM program will provide advanced professional training for individuals who currently hold management leadership positions in Liberian hospitals, health centers or health offices.

“The certificate program has been developed through a partnership with the Liberian Health Workforce Program, Yale University School of Medicine and the University of Liberia under the guidance of the Ministry of Health,” says the statement.

It points out that there are limited options in Liberia for professional management and leadership training, and as such, the certificate program allows participants to keep full time employment and actively apply new knowledge and skills in their daily work to create measurable improvements in their organizations.

“During the eight-month program, participants will engage in evening classroom sessions, team exercises, and applied projects in order to develop and apply key leadership and management skills. Between the sessions faculty and Yale Hospital Management Associates will provide guidance and coaching on quality improvement projects in the workplace.”

“Yale University has a long history of developing hospital management and leadership programs and has collaborated with partners in China, Ethiopia, Rwanda and the United Kingdom to develop similar training programs to advance the careers of individuals already in leadership and management positions,” the statement among other things added. Press Statement

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