February 21, 2020
Dartmouth MPH Teaches Data and Research to Impact Health Policy
CHLM Offers Partner Discount for Program
January 28, 2019
By Eileen Denne, CAE, APR
Interested in furthering your education at high-quality learning institutions? CHLM has partnered with top-notch universities like Dartmouth to offer partner discounts for certificates, master’s and doctoral degree programs.
Dartmouth College’s Master of Public Health (MPH) degree teaches students how to use data and research to evaluate and impact policies and ultimately improve health outcomes. Students do this while working full-time and leveraging close relationships to faculty. Dartmouth MPH graduates have moved into hospital management and administrative roles, leading quality initiatives or conducting research.
“What I learned at Dartmouth has been instrumental in helping me to understand microenvironments and how they can impact and influence an entire healthcare system. In addition, I use the knowledge I gained around process improvement and quality assurance daily,” says Bianca Belcher, MPH, PA-C, director at The Center for Healthcare Leadership and Management (CHLM).
At Dartmouth, students can achieve an MPH in two years online with six week-long on-campus sessions. The CEPH-accredited program is 56 credits, or 17 courses. An overview of tuition and fees is provided on Dartmouth’s website. The partnership with CHLM allows prospective students to apply for a $7,000 per year scholarship towards tuition.
In order to qualify for the scholarship, students need to first complete eight CHLM prerequisite courses; two are required and six are electives. Courses include Billing and Reimbursement, Critical Factors of Leadership, and Evaluating Your PA/NP Workforce as examples. Students can then matriculate to an eligible graduate program with a CHLM partner such as Dartmouth.
The Dartmouth MPH program has just over 1,500 total graduates, with the majority being residential graduate students. The first 28 hybrid students graduated in June 2018; about one-third of them are clinicians. Their goal is to enroll 40 new hybrid students for August 2019. The 22-month hybrid learning track assists working students to earn their degrees while pursuing a career.
Using data and research to impact policies and health outcomes
“Dartmouth is the perfect spot for PAs and NPs who are looking to gain a better understanding of healthcare policy, research, and quality improvement, while building a network of colleagues who are likely to become or who are already influencers in the healthcare industry,” Belcher says.
Dartmouth’s MPH is a cohort-based program designed for 30 to 40 students who want to move into management or add an element of research, policy, or improvement to their careers. Students take one course at a time online (about 15 to 20 hours of work per week). They are assigned a support-study group of four to five students, each of whom have different functional backgrounds. Twenty-five to 30 percent of students in the cohort are in clinical careers and everyone works full-time.
They spend three weeks per year on the Dartmouth campus interacting face-to-face with each other and with faculty. Through case studies, problem sets, virtual classes, and video lectures, students take a deep dive into topics such as epidemiology, biostatistics, and healthcare ethics. Mentored by a Dartmouth faculty member, students also design and complete a practicum project. The practicums can range from a quality improvement project in a medical-care setting to a project in policy analysis/development.
Current Dartmouth MPH student Elizabeth (Beth) Hoffman, PA-C, MPAS, who practices in cardiac electrophysiology at the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, says the graduate, hybrid program has been a fantastic experience.
“I wanted to feel part of the school and I like that [Dartmouth] designed three weeks a year on campus with each cohort so we feel a part of the Dartmouth community rather than just experiencing it remotely and online,” Hoffman says.
Advantages are small size and interpersonal education
According to Courtney L. Theroux, director of admissions, “Dartmouth helps students develop close relationships to faculty. No other online/hybrid MPH program offers the same faculty access that Dartmouth does.”
Theroux says the biggest advantages are Dartmouth’s small size and its interpersonal education. Dartmouth has just over 120 total students enrolled, while Harvard enrolls more than 1,000 and Johns Hopkins 2,300 it their MPH programs.
Hoffman chose Dartmouth’s MPH program because of its program design. “Other programs had a lot of electives. Dartmouth is very prescribed, and everyone is taking the same class at the same time. Classes are designed in step-wise fashion. I didn’t want to choose an elective and find that it wasn’t making sense. Dartmouth put a great deal of thought and effort into its hybrid program to make sure it is high quality.”
“I also chose it for its incredible history and reputation when it comes to policy and research. A lot of work done at Dartmouth is cited in articles and studies that I have read.”
Most MPH graduates with a clinical background have moved to roles where they are leading quality improvement initiatives (mostly in hospitals); conducting research; and taking on management and hospital administrative roles to complement their clinical time.
Hoffman hopes the degree will allow her to either redesign her current job or look for new opportunities. Instead of one-on-one clinical care, she would like to take care of a population of patients with AFib, for example. She also has a strong desire to be involved in health policy and make an impact in care delivery and access.
Contact Courtney Theroux for more information about Dartmouth Degree Pathways.
Eileen Denne is director of AAPA’s corporate communications department. Contact her at [email protected].