Campus Life

SF Health Director Applauds USF’s Move to Train Health Professionals

by Ericka Montes

The University of San Francisco’s new master of public health (MPH) program received a ringing endorsement recently from Barbara Garcia, MPA '01, San Francisco’s public health director, who called the program a much-needed training ground for the next generation of public health leaders.

Garcia’s comments came during the MPH official launch event on campus Oct. 19, where she spoke about her first year as director and the challenges facing urban health care — including a dearth of up-and-coming leaders. 

With more than 25 percent of government health workers from across the U.S. eligible to retire by 2012, the creation of the MHP program puts USF in a strong position to contribute leaders in the fields of biostatistics, health education, environmental health, nutrition, and others.

USF’s MPH offers advanced training and, critically, internships to build hands-on experience for health professionals in a way that hasn’t been done before. It’s a model that has worked well in nursing, another field facing large numbers of retirees in coming years. “We have done a really great job on the nursing side of health, I believe, and we have a lot of internship programs and teaching programs in our San Francisco General Hospital,” Garcia said. “Our goal is to do the same for public health students.”

It’s no surprise then that USF MPH students are likely to be among the most sought-after interns and, down the line, employees for organization like the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) — which provides affordable health care to 55,000 uninsured residents.

Garcia’s support is just the latest sign that USF is leading in the fields of nursing and health care. The MPH program, which caters to recent college graduates with at least a bachelor’s degree and professionals from any field, emphasizes emerging health, critical needs areas of national and global health, and areas that link education and health-related services.

“As health care leaders retire, baby boomers age into their golden years and require more care, and more people become health conscious, we believe the health professions are a vital arena to train students in and also to serve the greater good,” said Judith Karshmer, dean of School of Nursing and Health Professions.

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