Need advice from nurses with an MPH or health dept nurses

  1. Hello,

    As you all know, the plan is to get an MPH. I have already started the application process and picked a date for the GRE. I want to start Fall 2013. The issue I want an opinion on is the specialization. I think based on my career goals, Epidemiology would be the best bet. But, when I entered my grades and everything, I quickly realized that I am running about a C average in math/statistics and a B- or so in science courses. I don't think the admissions committee would look to fondly on that for an Epidemiology specialization. I would be fine with a Community Health specialization. I can only apply for one specialization though and I guess I am outta luck if they don't think I would be okay for that specialization and won't get in. So, I want your opinion (and I will ask the College of Public Health on Monday)--is it wiser to try for Community Health based on my math/science grades?

    I totally rocked my nursing classes, especially my Community and Public Health class. Do health dept. care what the specialization was for an MPH?

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    About wish_me_luck

    Joined: Sep '11; Posts: 1,281; Likes: 1,285
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  3. by   mercyteapot
    Like you, Math courses were my weakness. In my case, Stats were particularly difficult. I have a MPH with a Community Health specialization, which was my preferred and intended specialization, so I can't speak with any authority as to what an admissions committee may or may not decide based on your Math GPA. That said, I'd suggest that you consider carefully if you even want to specialize in an area that relies so much on a skill set that isn't amongst your strongest. I didn't feel that I was going to do well academically with an Epidemiology specialty, but I also didn't feel like I would enjoy basing a career on it, so that point was moot. Just my $.02.
  4. by   wish_me_luck
    Stats specifically, I made a D in first part and a C in the second. But, I was also in high school (dual enrollment). Do health depts care what the specialization is or do they specifically want Epidemiology?
  5. by   mercyteapot
    I'm sorry I can't help much in that regard, as I work for a university in a position that was specifically looking for Community Health expertise. I also live in a large County that has a huge health department with many different opportunities, so I'd say they probably base their preferences on the individual positions. Since my job is tied so closely to our state budget and it is perpetually in crisis, I tend to start worrying every April or May that I won't be employed come July 1. That's when I start browsing the County listings. I've noticed positions for both Epidemiology and Community Health; what I don't know is which positions tend to draw more applicants or be harder to land. The County also has a habit of lisiting positions that may or may not end up being furnded or filled, so there's another monkey wrench in being able tot offer any constructive advice. I'm sorry I don't have very clear information for you. Good luck with whatever you decide.

    PS- I probably should have gotten a D in the first semester of Stats myself. I tend to believe the prof just wanted to be rid of me, after I practically stalked him during office hours all semester! The second semester, I had a tutor from the start and did a bit better, but ended up with the same C grade; I just actually earned it that time!
  6. by   wish_me_luck
    So, I thought long and hard about it and sent an email to the people over the depts that I want to specializae in (they are on break), but I have decided that based on my grades and on my goals in life, it is best for me to go specialize in Community and Behavioral Health (that is the name of the specialization). I started going through my posts on here to try and really gather in a nutshell what I was telling you all my plans are...and really that's more Community and Behavioral Health rather than Epidemiology. Plus, it's one class of Biostatistics vs a whole degree in it.

    That's what specialization I will be putting in for. With a hope and a prayer, I will get in an start in the Fall. Is it better to join APHA now or wait and see if I get accepted? I know I want to at some point, it's expensive though and I don't know when I should do it.
  7. by   mercyteapot
    If it was me, I'd wait, just because of the expense. Good luck; I hope you got in to the program you want most and enjoy your career. I really have enjoyed mine (even though you'll also find posts by me kvetching about work!)
  8. by   wish_me_luck
    mercy, where do health educators work? Any work for health dept., CDC, or NIH/NIMH? Those are my dream places to work...
  9. by   mercyteapot
    I am in San Diego County and I got my MPH in Los Angeles. Some of the places my local cohort-mates work are for the County Health aHuman Services Department (in an obesity prevention program, as part of a longitiduinal child development study and coordinating a broad health and development program for children 0-5), in the Title V program as part of a pilot program for children with cystic fibrosis, at the local medical school as project coordinators and for a university (not the same one I work at) coordinating a Medical Home for Children project. I know that some of my other cohort-mates work in a variety of sponsored research projects, for a genetics study, overseeing the distribution of our state's Welcome Baby kits and with a home visiting program. There are also a number of MPHs that work for our local chapter of the AAP, primarily coordinating projects and I know that the national AAP also hires MPHs for that purpose. I am sure that the CDC and NIH hire MPHs, too, I have just never looked into those positions directly. There really are so many directions you could go!
  10. by   MandaRN94
    I also was tossing over the idea of MPH or MSN. I ended up enrolling in a MSN program that allows a specialty in public health. I have 4 classes left -yay! and now thinking about DrPH or DNP. I have worked in county public health depts doing high risk maternal/child health home visits. I now work as a supervisor at a family planning/public health clinic. I also love global health and have done volunteer trips overseas. When my daughter is in college I would love to work overseas and possible teach online courses.
  11. by   tmarie75
    I have an MPH with a focus in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention which is basically the same thing you're doing. In your program, you will have some exposure to Epidemiology and associated concepts. Some employers may find this sufficient, some may not. You can also use your elective credits to explore a little more in Epidemiology as well. This is what I did. Another option is completing a Graduate Certificate in Epidemiology while you get your degree or afterwards. There are aslo free trainings online in Epidemiology, you just have to search around for them. Good luck with your program!

  12. by   MandaRN94
    Thanks Tmarie! Sounds like we have the same interests. I debated about MPH vs MSN and decided to do MSN in case I decide to teach in a nursing program in the future. I'm enjoying the classes so far and am doing the PH focus (epi, health policy, environmental heath, etc..) The classes are about 3/4 MPH students and 1/4 MSN students. I wanted to do a global health cert but the university doesn't offer it. Overall I am happy with my choice and the MSN program.
  13. by   wish_me_luck
    tnmarie or mercy, what kind of GRE scores do you need to get into an MPH program for Community Health...mine ended up not being so great...980 converted score combined (530 math, 450 verbal). What do you all think? Please be honest.