Master of Public Health students in class

Concentrations

Concentration goals and areas of interest are described below.

Clinical Effectiveness (CLE)

Concerned with identifying the most appropriate, ethical, and cost-effective means of providing health care through prevention, early detection, or treatment, this concentration is designed to provide the analytic and quantitative training necessary to evaluate clinical practices. Major areas of professional interest include clinical epidemiology and biostatistics, cost-effectiveness analysis, medical decision analysis, health services research, quality improvement in health care, and measurement of health-related quality of life. The concentration is limited to clinicians enrolled initially in the Summer Program in Clinical Effectiveness.

Along with the broad perspective on general aspects of public health that the program offers, this training provides a basis for identifying the health policy implications and public health benefits of clinical investigations. The concentration prepares physicians for clinical research responsibilities and for leadership roles in evaluating and improving all aspects of health care delivery. Most graduates hold positions in academic medicine.

Health Care Management and Policy (CMP)

In this concentration, students train for either a management or a policy focus. In addition to fulfilling the MPH core requirements, students select from clusters of courses to gain depth in their chosen focal area. Students who choose the management focus take courses providing practical management skills, such as accounting, finance, operations, marketing, information systems, quality improvement, management of people, and strategy determination. Students who select the policy focus take courses in health economics, political science, and applied policy in areas such as payment systems, insurance, mental health and substance abuse, community health, and health promotion and disease prevention.

The concentration prepares students for leadership positions in health care organizations that provide direct care (such as hospitals, group practices, and home health agencies), those that pay for and/or organize health care (such as governments, health insurers, and health maintenance organizations), and those that supply direct-care providers (such as pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology firms). Program graduates fill many roles – from consultants and staff analysts to middle-management and executive positions.

Global Health (GH)

This concentration explores the emerging professional and academic domain of global health, emphasizing the development of analytical and methodological skills to effectively engage and critically evaluate key challenges, policies, and processes as they affect the health of populations in a global context across national and sector boundaries. Students are exposed to a range of disciplines, methods, and approaches as they are relevant for addressing the multisectoral nature of public health challenges, including demography and epidemiology, the organization of health systems, the ethical basis of resource allocation, political economy, health economics and financing, health and human rights, and humanitarian studies. The concentration involves opportunities to build skills in areas of strategic planning, professional networking, crisis management, and development of policy initiatives in the context of both national health systems and broader international frameworks and institutions.

The program is intended to prepare health professionals with prior international health experience for leadership roles in global health at national and international levels and to effectively translate scientific knowledge into policies that affect public health. Graduates work in national ministries of health, intergovernmental organizations, donor aid agencies, NGOs, research and academic institutions, and the private sector.

Health and Social Behavior (HSB)

This concentration is devoted to the promotion of health and the prevention of disease, especially in more vulnerable populations. Coursework emphasizes strategies for needs assessment and establishment of health objectives, data collection and analysis, leadership skills, consultation, communication, advocacy, and policy formation in the public sector. Beyond the MPH core requirements, students are encouraged to develop expertise in a focus area geared to their professional interests. These areas include identifying and understanding the origins of health disparities, community assessment, and interventions for health promotion and disease prevention. Guidance is provided to develop more in-depth understanding of specific health problems and vulnerable groups.

This concentration prepares students to work in diverse spheres, including federal, state, and local government; advocacy groups; voluntary health organizations; and community-based primary care settings in the United States and other countries. Posts filled by graduates include state health director; medical director of programs for child, adolescent, and women’s health; health policy analyst; and health educator. Other graduates have gone on to academic positions.

Law and Public Health (LPH)

This concentration introduces lawyers to the science of public health, provides them with the skills needed to analyze public health problems, and allows them to design a curriculum that will meet their particular interests. Beyond the MPH core requirements, which include law-related courses, students are encouraged to develop an area of interest by choosing elective courses in a specific field such as health care delivery or environmental health.

The concentration trains leaders in the field of public health law. Graduates are prepared for careers in a variety of settings, including health or environmental law work in a law firm, NGO, or in-house counsel’s office; policy positions in local, state, and federal government; and posts in academia. The concentration is open only to individuals who hold a U.S. or foreign law degree or who are pursuing a law degree at Harvard Law School through the JD/MPH joint degree program.

For more information on the LPH concentration: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/lph/

Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH)

This concentration focuses on workplace and environmental hazards, the physiological and biomechanical aspects of work, the risks posed by the interaction of genetic and environmental factors, and a practical approach to solving health problems in various work and community settings. The concentration features three areas of interest: occupational/environmental medicine, occupational health, and environmental health.

The program is designed for physicians and other professionals who intend to practice occupational/environmental medicine or to hold responsible positions in occupational and/or environmental policy and management. The occupational/environmental medicine area fulfills the coursework requirements of the two-year Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency. This area also is intended for other physicians who wish to satisfy the didactic requirements of the American Board of Preventive Medicine for certification in occupational and environmental medicine. Physicians interested in occupational and environmental medicine may apply to the master of public health (MPH) Occupational and Environmental Health concentration or to the master of occupational health (MOH). Either program is taken as the first year of a two-year Occupational and Environmental Medicine Residency.

Quantitative Methods (QM)

This concentration, sponsored jointly by the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, provides students with the necessary quantitative and analytic skills to approach and solve problems in public health and clinical research and practice while providing a strong general foundation in public health. The concentration emphasizes study design, data analysis, and the application of quantitative methods within the context of epidemiology, biostatistics, decision sciences, demography, and program evaluation. The competency-based curriculum is designed to provide health professionals with the analytical and statistical knowledge and skills required for successful public health practice and research. It is appropriate for both mid-career health professionals and those in the early stages of their careers. The program prepares graduates to take on leadership roles in clinical and population-based health research in government, health care institutions, and private industry. In addition, it provides an excellent foundation for those interested in pursuing academic careers in the health sciences.