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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health








(1) Background: As gaps in the public health workforce grow in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, graduates of the schools of public health, especially Doctors of Public Health (DrPH), are poised to offer relief. While there are some known recruitment issues, student debt and debt impact on career choices are understudied. (2) Methods: In the present study, we perform a descriptive analysis of the potential impact of student debt on career choices among DrPH students and alumni in the United States using a cross-sectional national online survey. A total of 203 participants (66: alumni and 137: current students) completed the survey. Descriptive statistics, a chi-squared test of independence, and content analysis were used to analyze the funding situation and its impact on career choices. (3) Results: We found that (1) 72% of current DrPH students have zero funding support for their degree, (2) scholarship opportunities for a DrPH degree are limited, especially when compared to PhD programs, and (3) student debt impacts 59% of DrPH students’ and 29% of DrPH graduates’ career choices (about 49% of all respondents). (4) Conclusions: Student debt and a misunderstanding of DrPH are likely impediments to DrPH graduates participating in the public health workforce.


Doctor of Public Health (DrPH), funding, finance, debt, cross-sectional survey


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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Public Health and Recreation