Department of

Public Health Seminars:


Public Health Careers in State and Federal Government: A Personal Perspective

River Pugsley, PhD, MPH | Epidemiologist, CDC Division of STD Prevention, Virginia Department of Health



VCU MPH Program Competencies

Effective Fall 2018

                         MPH Foundational Public Health Knowledge

                                                PROFESSION & SCIENCE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
1       Explain public health history, philosophy and values
2 Identify the core functions of public health and the 10 Essential Services
3 Explain the role of quantitative and qualitative methods and sciences in describing and
assessing a population’s health
4 List major causes and trends of morbidity and mortality in the US or other community
relevant to the school or program
5 Discuss the science of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in population health,
including health promotion, screening, etc.
6 Explain the critical importance of evidence in advancing public health knowledge
                                                FACTORS RELATED TO HUMAN HEALTH
7 Explain effects of environmental factors on a population’s health
8 Explain biological and genetic factors that affect a population’s health
9 Explain behavioral and psychological factors that affect a population’s health
10 Explain the social, political and economic determinants of health and how they contribute
to population health and health inequitie
11 Explain how globalization affects global burdens of disease
12 Explain an ecological perspective on the connections among human health, animal health
and ecosystem health (eg, One Health)

                                   MPH Foundational Competencies

                                               EVIDENCE-BASED APPROACHES TO PUBLIC HEALTH
1 Apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health
2 Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public
health contex
3 Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based
programming and software, as appropriate
4 Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice
                                               PUBLIC HEALTH & HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS
5 Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and
regulatory systems across national and international settings
6 Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health
and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and societal
                                             PLANNING & MANAGEMENT TO PROMOTE HEALTH
7 Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health
8 Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public
health policies or programs
9 Design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention
10 Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management
11 Select methods to evaluate public health programs
                                                               POLICY IN PUBLIC HEALTH
12 Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and
13 Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for
influencing public health outcomes
14 Advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health in
diverse populations
15 Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity
16 Apply principles of leadership, governance and management, which include creating a vision,
empowering others, fostering collaboration and guiding decision making
17 Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges
18 Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors
19 Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral
20 Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content
                                                              INTERPROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
21 Perform effectively on interprofessional teams
                                                                       SYSTEMS THINKING
22 Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue


Effective Fall 2015 Through Summer 2018

Competencies: Upon graduation a student with an MPH should be able to…
BIO 1. Explain the role of biostatistics in evidence-based research and the decision-making process.
BIO 2. Describe the theoretical concepts behind a number of commonly used statistical methodologies
BIO 3. Apply the appropriate statistical methodology for description and estimation to account for different measurement scales.
BIO 4. Draw appropriate inferences from statistical analyses.
Competencies: Upon graduation a student with an MPH should be able to…
ENV 1. Describe the direct and indirect human, ecological and safety effects of major environmental features and the approaches to assess, prevent, and control risks to human health and safety. (ASPH B.1, B.5)
ENV 2. Describe genetic, physiological, psychosocial, and environmental justice factors that affect susceptibility to adverse health outcomes following exposure to environmental conditions. (ASPH B.2, B.7)
ENV 3. Describe federal and state regulatory programs, guidelines and authorities that control environmental health issues. (ASPH B.3)
Competencies: Upon graduation a student with an MPH should be able to…
EPI 1. Identify key sources of data for epidemiologic purposes. (ASPH C.1)
EPI 2. Apply basic terms and definitions of epidemiology in terms of magnitude, person, time, and place. (ASPH C.3, C.6)
EPI 3. Explain the importance of epidemiology for informing scientific, ethical, economic and political discussion of health issues. (ASPH C.4)
EPI 4. Calculate basic epidemiology measures. (ASPH C.7)
EPI 5. Evaluate the strengths and limitations of epidemiologic reports. (ASPH C.10)
Competencies: Upon graduation a student with an MPH should be able to…
HPM 1. Identify the main components and issues of the organization, financing, access and delivery of health services and public health systems in the US and globally. (ASPH D.1)
HPM 2. Describe the legal and ethical bases for public health and health services. (ASPH D.2)
HPM 3. Discuss the policy process for improving the health status of populations. (ASPH D.4)
HPM 4. Communicate health policy and management issues using appropriate channels and technologies. (ASPH D.9)
Competencies: Upon graduation a student with an MPH should be able to…
SBS 1. Identify basic theories, concepts and models from a range of social and behavioral disciplines that are used in public health research and practice. (ASPH E.1)
SBS 2. Identify the causes of social and behavioral factors that affect health of individuals and populations. (ASPH E.2)
SBS 3. Describe steps and procedures for the planning, implementation and evaluation of public health programs, policies and interventions. (ASPH E.5)
Competencies: Upon graduation a student with an MPH should be able to...
VCU 1. Discuss the effect of physical and social environment on health outcomes during the life course.
VCU 2.  Discriminate between research questions and hypotheses and derive one from the other.
VCU 3.  Accurately distinguish between epidemiological and biostatistical concepts and apply the appropriate method to analyze a public health research question using appropriate statistical software.
VCU 4.  Access public and private data sets and assess their relevance in addressing a specific public health research question or evaluation need.
VCU 5.  Work effectively in collaborative teams to develop public health projects.
VCU 6.  Distinguish between public health ethics and medical ethics, discussing the values and beliefs inherent to a public health ethics perspectives.
Competencies: Upon graduation, it is increasingly important that a student with an MPH be able to…
COM 1. Describe how societal, organizational, and individual factors influence and are influenced by public health communications. (ASPH F.2)
COM 2. Demonstrate effective written and oral skills for communicating with different audiences in the context of professional public health activities. (ASPH F.7)
Competencies: Upon graduation, it is increasingly important that a student with an MPH be able to…
 DIV 1. Explain how professional ethics and practices relate to equity and accountability in diverse community settings. (ASPH G.2)
DIV 2. Differentiate among availability, acceptability, and accessibility of health care across diverse populations. (ASPH G.7)
Competencies: Upon graduation, it is increasingly important that a student with an MPH be able to…
LDR 1. Engage in dialogue and learning from others to advance public health goals. (ASPH H.4)
LDR 2. Demonstrate transparency, integrity, and honesty in all actions. (ASPH H.6)
Competencies: Upon graduation, it is increasingly important that a student with an MPH be able to…
PHB 1. Apply biological principles to development and implementation of disease prevention, control, or management programs. (ASPH I.8)
Competencies: Upon graduation, it is increasingly important that a student with an MPH be able to…
PRO 1. Apply basic principles of ethical analysis (e.g. the Public Health Code of Ethics, human rights framework, other moral theories) to issues of public health practice and policy. (ASPH J.2)
PRO 2. Apply evidence-based principles and the scientific knowledge base to critical evaluation and decision-making in public health. (ASPH J.3)
PRO 3.  Promote high standards of personal and organizational integrity, compassion, honesty and respect for all people. (ASPH J.5)
PRO 4.  Distinguish between population and individual ethical considerations in relation to the benefits, costs, and burdens of public health programs. (ASPH J.8)
PRO 5.  Appreciate the importance of working collaboratively with diverse communities and constituencies (e.g. researchers, practitioners, agencies, and organizations). (ASPH J.10)
Competencies: Upon graduation, it is increasingly important that a student with an MPH be able to…
PPL 1. Differentiate among goals, measurable objectives, related activities, and expected outcomes for a public health program. (ASPH K.5)
PPL 2.  Differentiate the purposes of formative, process, and outcome evaluation. (ASPH K.6)