The Master of Public Health program at St. Ambrose University has attained full accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to authorize schools of public health and public health programs.

The full accreditation will extend through July 1, 2027, with the initial accreditation date recorded as June 15, 2019. This extends accredited status to all program graduates. 

“Achieving CEPH accreditation is a testament to our high-quality program committed to serving all, including marginalized and vulnerable populations,” said Melissa Sharer, Ph.D., program director and assistant professor. “We will continue nurturing person-centered public health leaders through experiential learning with a global lens.”

The completely online St. Ambrose MPH degree was developed to support the Institute for Person-Centered Care at St. Ambrose, with funding provided by Tom Higgins ’67.

Nick Colwell enrolled in the first group of MPH students in 2018. He was eager to apply the concepts of public health administration to advance his career and become a data analyst focused on population health at Genesis Health Systems facilities in the Quad Cities. As one of the program’s first graduates, he earned his Master of Public Health degree in the spring of 2021 and graduated with a greater understanding of the impact of public health applications on the community.

“Public health really gives you a broader perspective of how everything is interacting and how all those pieces come together to form a broader community health system,” Colwell said. “It was quite a time to be learning these MPH lessons. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the field changes in the next decade and what direction health systems want to take with their public health strategies.”

The online program has allowed SAU to recruit students from all over the USA, including Wreetu Sieh from Philadelphia, PA. Wreetu was attracted to the program for the global and experiential focus, both of which are particularly important to her as she was born in Monrovia, Liberia. “When I read the overview of the SAU MPH program, I loved it. This program offers a person-centered approach and professors with wonderful backgrounds at a global level,” Sieh said.” It seemed packed with real world experience, academic learning, and support. I felt confident that the SAU MPH program was exactly what I needed to develop professionally.”

The St. Ambrose program also partners with the undergraduate public health program in Winona State University in Minnesota, offering students a similar 3+2 pathway, allowing for a BS/MPH in 5 years.

Freedom Martin took advantage of that opportunity. He said an SAU master’s degree built on “the scaffolding” of a bachelor’s in Public Health degree from Winona State has enhanced his work as a donor center coordinator for the American Red Cross in numerous ways.

“The Red Cross is a great organization to both work for and learn from, and although they tell me I’m a strong performer in my position, I often wonder if either they or I are able to comprehend what a large role the MPH Program has played in my success. The impact is massive.”

The SAU Master of Public Health program emphasizes health equity, which reinforces St. Ambrose University’s mission of social justice and service. SAU MPH students build their skills in epidemiology, research and applying evidence-based interventions to solve global/national/regional/state/community public health issues.

The 43-credit program offers three start times a year, allowing for flexibility to be full-time or part-time and features an accelerated 3-plus-2 program where St. Ambrose undergraduates in a multitude of major degree programs can begin taking asynchronous online MPH courses that will serve as electives toward their undergraduate degrees and allow them to complete their MPH degree in one year after achieving their bachelor’s degree.