Tuesday, July 16, 2024

LSUS, Centenary announce partnership to strengthen Master of Public Health program

by BPT Staff
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In an effort to bolster the local healthcare industry, LSU Shreveport and Centenary announced a memorandum of understanding to build pathways for Centenary undergraduate students to enroll in LSUS’s Master of Public Health program.

The MPH program is a joint effort between LSUS and LSU Health Shreveport’s School of Allied Health Professions. Students take classes from both sets of faculty.

“I am very pleased that LSUS and Centenary will be partnering with the establishment of this pathway agreement,” said LSUS Chancellor Dr. Robert Smith. “This will facilitate Centenary students moving directly into a graduate degree program without the need to leave Shreveport.

“My hope is that this will also result in these students deciding to stay in Northwest Louisiana once they have graduated.”

The announced partnership formalizes a foundational relationship between the two institutions that included LSUS personnel frequently visiting Centenary’s classrooms to discuss the MPH program.

“Higher education needs partnerships to be at its most effective,” said Centenary President Dr. Christopher Holoman. “In an area that doesn’t have a lot of private schools, we’ve been working hard to build our dance partners in public institutions.

“We’re grateful to enter into this partnership, and we think it can be fruitful territory.”

The MPH program at LSUS prepares graduates for diverse roles in the public health field through immersive instruction and experiential learning tailored to a student’s interests.

The program includes a 150-hour practicum experience with entities such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Health Center, the LSU AG Center, and many other community-based agencies.

“A lot of our graduates will work in nonprofit settings around healthcare, and others are in hospitals in areas like infection prevention,” said Dr. Matthew Kelley, the MPH program director at LSUS. “They design public health programs around certain issues or get into epidemiology where they track diseases and collect information that can inform public health decisions.

“Both institutions want to keep students in the area, and that will benefit preventative healthcare in our community as they become public health practitioners.”

Public health specifically focuses on preventative healthcare to contribute to overall positive health outcomes for the community.

“(The Master of Public Health) is a great dual degree to have, whether you’re a physician or another healthcare provider, to not only understand your clinical role but also the incredible need in our community for public health,” said Dr. Sharon Dunn, dean of the school of allied health professions at LSU Health Shreveport. “There are a lot of underserved residents in our community, and I think there’s a big impact the public health program can make to improve overall health in our community.”

Centenary has built a reputation of producing high-quality students in the sciences and the arts, which would translate well into the rigorous and competitive MPH program.

The memorandum of understanding can assist in identifying qualified Centenary undergraduate students who might be interested in LSUS’s MPH program and create a more direct path to be advised, to apply and to be enrolled upon completion of their undergraduate degree.

Course selection for Centenary students is one facet of the agreement that can help prepare students for entry into the MPH program.

Qualified Centenary undergraduates will receive priority admission into the LSUS MPH program.

“All statistics point to the healthcare profession having the greatest need over the next decade,” said Dr. Scott Chirhart, dean of the school of health sciences at Centenary. “Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, the emphasis on public health communities is at an all-time high.

“Since public health touches every facet of life, we’re hoping this provides a pathway to impact not only today’s generation but future generations of Shreveport-Bossier.”

To learn more about the LSUS MPH program, visit the program’s website.

To learn more about Centenary’s academic offerings, visit the college’s website.

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