Exploring the potential for a Global Behavioral Sciences and Health Education program at the Rollins School of Public Health Open Access

Sabben, Gaelle L. (2015)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/08612n67z?locale=en


Many students at Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) have professional interests that are not limited to a single department. However, most RSPH students must currently complete their degree in a single department. Two cross-departmental programs were developed in response to student interest: Global Environmental Health and Global Epidemiology. This study seeks to understand what gaps in training exist for students with interdepartmental interests in Global Health (GH) and Behavioral Sciences and Health Education (BSHE) and how those gaps can realistically be addressed by RSPH. A mixed method design was used in this study. Results of a web-based survey, distributed via email to 199 students and 1848 alumni (1977-2014) from the GH and BSHE Departments, were analyzed. Qualitative interviews with 8 students, 5 alumni, and 9 faculty members, administrators and department chairs were recorded, transcribed and thematically analyzed. Additionally, global and behavioral/health education-oriented programs offered by other schools of public health (SPH) were compared with RSPH's degree options. Current RSPH degrees do not fully meet the needs of students who have cross-departmental interests, although most students and alumni were satisfied with their degrees. Almost one quarter of survey respondents would have applied for a Global BSHE degree had it been offered and 60% support the development of such a degree. Interviewees generally supported the possibility of developing this program, though noted the need to consider faculty burden and curriculum flexibility for students. Interdisciplinary program options (certificates and flexible curricula) are available at other SPHs, however few offer truly joint program options where students are able to fully develop both GH and BSHE-type competencies. Developing a Global BSHE degree could benefit RSPH by differentiating it from other SPHs. If such a degree is developed, balancing GH and BSHE requirements and engaging both Departments in deciding on admission and degree completion requirements will be crucial. In the shorter term, GH students need more exposure to behavioral theories and BSHE students to public health practice with non-US populations. Developing new courses in public health programming, evaluating existing programs, and assessing employer needs will also help improve the training RSPH offers its students.

Table of Contents

I- Background. 1

II- Literature Review. 5

III- Methodology. 32

IV- Results. 37

V- Discussion. 87

VI- Recommendations. 94

References. 103

Appendix A: MPH Program Competencies. 106

Appendix B: HDGH Faculty Interview Guide. 117

Appendix C: BSHE Faculty Interview Guide. 119

Appendix D: HDGH Department Chair Interview Guide. 121

Appendix E: Student Interview Guide. 123

Appendix F: Student Survey. 125

Appendix G: Alumni Survey. 127

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