TUC’S Joint Program: A Unique BlendIn 2002, Touro University California (TUC) introduced a new type of program: a blended education that prepared a physician assistant (PA) with a public health perspective. By integrating coursework, students are able to earn two degrees simultaneously, and with less coursework than if they pursued the degrees separately. The students in the Joint Program meet the same requirements for completion of the MPH degree as students seeking the stand-alone MPH degree, and differ only in how they meet those requirements. The credits from six PA courses and one of the clinical rotations apply towards the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, and four of the Public Health courses apply towards the Master of Science in PA Studies (MSPAS) degree. This overlapping structure distinguishes the Joint Program from other PA programs with MPH options, where the two courses of study are pursued independently. Physician Assistant courses counting towards the Public Health degree:
- Ethics for Health Professionals/PA Profession and Practice
- Behavioral Medicine
- Clinical Medicine II
- Pediatrics I
- Pediatrics II
- Primary Care I Rotation
Public Health courses counting towards the PA degree:
- Behavioral & Social Aspects of Public Health
- Program Evaluation
- Research Methods
Public Health at TUC: A Variety of OptionsSince its beginnings with the PA Program, the Public Health Program has grown and become independently accredited. It has developed partnerships with other academic programs at TUC, and now offers several ways to earn an MPH. The Public Health Program offers the joint degree option, a single degree option, and two dual degree options – DO/MPH and PharmD/MPH. Students can earn an MPH in as little as 12 months. The College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) and College of Pharmacy (COP) have dual degree agreements with the Public Health Program. As with the Joint Program, these students complete 30 credit units of public health courses and transfer 12 from their curricula. However, as the course overlap only goes one way (i.e., no MPH courses are counted towards the DO and PharmD degrees), these options are referred to as the Dual DO/MPH and the Dual PharmD/MPH degrees. In addition, all MPH students gain depth through coursework in a chosen specialized public health track, selecting either Community Health or Global Health. The Community Health Track is designed for those who are most interested in working for organizations that support and promote public health, including state public health departments, community health organizations, and non-profit organizations. The Global Health Track prepares students to be effective leaders and advocates for global health, and involves taking the view that health problems must be considered from a truly international perspective and implicit in that is the understanding that the health situation of one population affects other populations as well.
- 2002: The Joint Program is first accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the PA (ARC-PA), enabling it to provide physician assistant education. TUC is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), and can grant MPH and MSPAS degrees. Select courses are considered toward both the MPH and MSPAS degrees, making this a Joint Program. The Physician Assistant Program’s students are all also Public Health students, and vice versa.
- 2003: The Class of 2005 starts in January and the Class of 2006 a few months later. Subsequent classes matriculate each August and are identified by the year they will graduate - e.g., the Class of 2007 matriculated August 2004.
- 2005: The first class graduates from the Joint Program, having earned MSPAS and MPH degrees.
- 2007: An independent MPH degree is offered, along with a dual degree with the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM). For the first time, the Public Health Program has students who are not Physician Assistant students.
- 2008: The Public Health Program graduates its first three independent students.
- 2009: The Public Health Program earns accreditation from the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH). Some MPH-level employment is only open to graduates of CEPH-accredited public health schools or programs, such as the US Public Health Service.
- 2010: A dual degree is offered with the College of Pharmacy (COP).
- 2011: The first DO/MPH students graduate.
- 2014: The first PharmD/MPH students graduate.
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