History and Accreditation
In May 1989, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning in Mississippi
approved the creation of the Center for Community Health at The University of Southern
Mississippi. In December 1989, the Board gave approval for the Center to grant the
first Master of Public Health degree offered in Mississippi. The Master of Public
Health degree is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH),
the national accrediting body for programs in Public Health, as a Community Health/Preventive
Medicine program. The first class of students was admitted to the MPH program in the
summer of 1990. Initial CEPH accreditation was awarded in 1993, with the program
being reaccredited in 1997. In 2001, the MPH program was awarded reaccreditation for
a minimum of five years. The unit was renamed the Department of Community Health Sciences
in 2004, and subsequently changed to the Department of Public Health in July 2013. In
2006, the Department instituted the Executive Master of Public Health in Health Services
Administration program. The Department was granted reaccreditation on June 13, 2015
for a period of seven years. The Department will seek reaccreditation in 2022.
Mission, Values, Goals, and Objectives of the Master of Public Health Program
The mission of the University of Southern Mississippi Master of Public Health Program
is to advance the public's health through education, research, and service with a
focus on preparing students to become competent public health practitioners and/or
The MPH program is an integral part of the university setting and adheres to the values
that have been formed through the history and traditions of The University of Southern
Mississippi. These values are widely and deeply held beliefs of our faculty, staff,
students, and administrators both in the program and the University as a whole, and
include the following:
- Education provides opportunities to improve the quality of intellectual, social, economic,
and personal well-being. These opportunities should be available to all who are willing
and able to meet our standards of excellence.
- Our success is reflected by the degree to which our students become well-read, articulate,
creative, and critical thinkers. It is measured by their display of specialized knowledge
and abilities suitable to the pursuit of careers and lives in our complex, ever- changing
- We cherish innovation in the creation and application of basic and applied research
findings, creative and artistic expression, meaningful learning experiences, the scope
of services provided to our students and the broader community that we sustain, and
the continuing evolution of degree programs that both respond to and anticipate the
evolving demands of our society, employers, and the labor market.
- Education encourages and advances the ideals of a pluralistic democratic society:
civic responsibility, integrity, diversity, and ethical behavior.
- Academic freedom and shared governance are long-established and living principles
at the university. We cherish the free exchange of ideas, diversity of thought, joint
decision making, and individuals’ assumption of responsibility.
- We make efficient and effective use of our resources, for we are accountable to our
university communities, the Board of Trustees, and taxpayers.
Additionally, the values that guide the MPH program’s mission are as follows:
- The development and enhancement of collegiality among the faculty members
- Innovation in approach to teaching, practice, and research
- Open-mindedness, respect, compassion, universal fairness, and equity
- Striving to increase population health, eliminate health disparities, and improve
the health and safety of the general public by teaching and following public health
- Collaboration and team work among the faculty and the establishment of partnerships
- Collective responsibility and the wise use of resources
- Diversity and support for individual autonomy and privacy
- Student centered approach to teaching and program development
- Continuously seeking quality and excellence in scholarship
- Teaching and practicing individual and professional ethics
The University of Southern Mississippi MPH program currently has three overarching
goals regarding instruction, research, and service.
Instruction: To provide comprehensive public health education and professional development
to students in the areas of biostatistics, epidemiology, health administration, health
policy, social and behavioral aspects of health, and environmental health. Additionally,
to provide specialized training beyond the core competency level in the emphasis areas
of health education and health promotion, epidemiology and biostatistics, and health
policy and administration.
Research: To develop an innovative, focused program of applied research that rewards
scholarship and fosters collaborative research efforts with other academic programs,
disciplines and practitioners to increase the knowledge in the field of public health
Service: To contribute to the development of public health policy and practice at
the local, regional, national, and international levels through the active participation
of our faculty and students with organizations which strive to improve the health
of their community’s population.
Goal 1: Instruction
- 100% of MPH Program core competencies will be addressed by core and emphasis area
- 80% of full time MPH students will complete their degree requirements within 24 months
of enrollment in the program.
- 80% of MPH students will evaluate MPH core courses as ≥ 4 (high or highest) on a 5
point Likert scale as measured on end of semester course evaluations.
- 80% of students in the Health Education emphasis will evaluate their emphasis area
courses as ≥4 (high or highest) on a 5 point Likert scale as measured on end of semester
- 80% of students in the Health Policy and Administration emphasis will evaluate their
emphasis area courses as ≥4 (high or highest) on a 5 point Likert scale as measured
on end of semester course evaluations.
- 80% of students in the Epidemiology/Biostatistics emphasis will evaluate their emphasis
area courses as ≥4 (high or highest) on a 5 point Likert scale as measured on end
of semester course evaluations.
- 90% of all traditional MPH students will demonstrate professionalism in the field
of public health as evidenced by an overall internship/practicum preceptor evaluation
of above average or better.
- 90% of all traditional MPH students will demonstrate specialized knowledge in their
emphasis area as evidenced by a passing grade on the required portfolio associated
with their internship/practicum.
- 75% of all traditional MPH students will pass comprehensive exams on the first attempt.
- 95% of executive MPH students will score ≥ 3 using a 4 point scale (pass with distinction,
pass, low pass, or fail) on the Capstone oral presentation.
- 90% of executive MPH students will score above average or better on the Strategic
Planning written report.
Goal 2: Research
- 70% of program faculty will pursue and initiate collaborative public health research
with agencies, organizations and foundations at the local, state, national, or international
- 60% of program faculty will pursue opportunities to conduct interdisciplinary, applied,
and community-based scholarship with appropriate programs, agencies, and organizations.
- 70% of program faculty will enhance public health science through the dissemination
of research findings in publications and presentations.
Goal 3: Service
- 70% of MPH program faculty members will serve as a resource for at least one public
and/or private health care activity or organization at the local, state, national,
or international level.
- 70% of MPH faculty, with the assistance of MPH student organization groups, will provide
community education and service projects that will have a positive public health impact
at local, state, national, or international levels.