Analysis of CEPH-accredited Doctor of Public Health programs and its future direction in the United States: A mixed-methods study

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American Public Health Association 2020 Annual Meeting and Expo

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William Welch and Wickliffe Rose originally proposed the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree in 1915, and the need for standardizing DrPH training was first discussed in 1919 at the 48th APHA annual meeting. However, little is known about how each of the CEPH-accredited schools and programs have interpreted and provided DrPH education. In fact, over the past 100 years, there has been very few studies that have looked at education and training of the DrPH degree. This study aims to answer the following two research questions on doctoral education and public health: (1) What are the DrPH degree's common themes and variations within the 28 CEPH-accredited DrPH schools and programs for curriculum, qualifying exam, dissertation, recruitment strategy, funding sources, and applied practice experience? (2) What is the desirable future direction and optimal education strategy for the DrPH degree in the United States? The research method for this research was a mixed-methods sequential explanatory study. Secondary data—ASPPH Data Center Portal, school websites, DrPH curricula, guidelines, and graduate student handbooks—were collected and analyzed as a first phase to inform the development of questionnaire for semi-structured in-depth interviews with DrPH directors as a second phase. Among 28 identified CEPH-accredited DrPH schools or programs in the United States, a total of 22 DrPH directors (response rate: 68%, 19/28) participated in 30-minute in-depth interview. The DrPH programs were mainly categorized into four types: school(college)/schoolwide(collegewide) (46%, 13/28), school/departmental-hybrid (25%, 7/28), school/departmental (21%, 6/28), and program/concentration (7%, 2/28). In the future, DrPH degree is expected to be highly recognized to empower future leaders of public health.


Public Health and Recreation