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Berkeley Public Health ensures that all graduates are grounded in foundational public health knowledge, foundational competencies essential to the practice of public health, and concentration competencies unique to their degree program. Foundational Public Health Learning Objectives and Foundational Competencies are identified by Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and public health programs. Concentration Competencies have been developed by Berkeley faculty to identify the key skills attained by completion of the concentration.

Foundational Public Health Learning Objectives

The 12 Foundational Public Health Learning Objectives are applicable to students in MPH, MA, MS, DrPH, and PhD programs.

  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
  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 inequities
  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 (e.g., One Health)

MPH Foundational Competencies

The 22 MPH Foundational Competencies are informed by the traditional public health core knowledge areas, (biostatistics, epidemiology, social and behavioral sciences, health services administration and environmental health sciences), as well as cross-cutting and emerging public health areas. MPH foundational competencies are attained through the quantitative core and breadth courses usually taken in the student’s first year.

Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health

  1. Apply epidemiological methods to settings and situations in public health practice
  2. Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context
  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

  1. Compare the organization, structure, and function of health care, public health, and regulatory systems across national and international settings
  2. Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and systemic levels

Planning & Management to Promote Health

  1. Assess population needs, assets, and capacities that affect communities’ health
  2. Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design, implementation, or critique of public health policies or programs
  3. Design a population-based policy, program, project, or intervention
  4. Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management
  5. Select methods to evaluate public health programs

Policy in Public Health

  1. Discuss the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence
  2. Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes
  3. Advocate for political, social, or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations
  4. Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity

Leadership

  1. Apply leadership and/or management principles to address a relevant issue
  2. Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges

Communication

  1. Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors
  2. Communicate audience-appropriate (i.e., non-academic, non-peer audience) public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation
  3. Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content

Interprofessional Practice

  1. Integrate perspectives from other sectors and/or professions to promote and advance population health

Systems Thinking

  1. Apply a systems thinking tool to visually represent a public health issue in a format other than standard narrative

DrPH Foundational Competencies

The DrPH is the professional doctoral degree in public health, designed to produce transformative academic and practice leaders with expertise in evidence-based public health practice and research. These individuals are able to convene diverse partners; communicate to effect change across a range of sectors and settings; synthesize and translate findings; and generate practice-based evidence that advances programs, policies, services and/or systems addressing population health. DrPH graduates demonstrate the 20 DrPH Foundational Competencies.

Data & Analysis

  1. Explain qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, and policy analysis research and evaluation methods to address health issues at multiple (individual, group, organization, community, and population) levels
  2. Design a qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, policy analysis, or evaluation project to address a public health issue
  3. Explain the use and limitations of surveillance systems and national surveys in assessing, monitoring, and evaluating policies and programs and to address a population’s health

Leadership, Management & Governance

  1. Propose strategies for health improvement and elimination of health inequities by organizing stakeholders, including researchers, practitioners, community leaders, and other partners
  2. Communicate public health science to diverse stakeholders, including individuals at all levels of health literacy, for purposes of influencing behavior and policies
  3. Integrate knowledge, approaches, methods, values, and potential contributions from multiple professions, sectors, and systems in addressing public health problems
  4. Create a strategic plan
  5. Facilitate shared decision making through negotiation and consensus-building methods
  6. Create organizational change strategies
  7. Propose strategies to promote inclusion and equity within public health programs, policies, and systems
  8. Assess one’s own strengths and weaknesses in leadership capacities, including cultural proficiency
  9. Propse human, fiscal, and other resources to achieve a strategic goal
  10. Cultivate new resources and revenue streams to achieve a strategic goal

Policy & Programs

  1. Design a system-level intervention to address a public health issue
  2. Integrate knowledge of cultural values and practices in the design of public health policies and programs
  3. Integrate scientific information, legal and regulatory approaches, ethical frameworks, and varied stakeholder interests in policy development and analysis
  4. Propose interprofessional and/or intersectoral team approaches to improving public health

Education & Workforce Development

  1. Assess an audience’s knowledge and learning needs
  2. Deliver training or educational experiences that promote learning in academic, organizational, or community settings
  3. Use best practice modalities in pedagogical practices

Concentration Competencies

Students in MPH, MA, MS, DrPH, and PhD programs attain competencies in addition to Foundational Competencies. Concentration Competencies articulate the unique set of knowledge and skills that justifies awarding a degree in the designated concentration and differentiates the degree offering from other concentrations.

Professional Degrees

  1. Ethics & principles: Identify and apply ethical principles of social justice and human rights in public health research and practice.
  2. Social justice orientation: Demonstrate an understanding of the multiple mechanisms by which social, political, economic and historical factors contribute to health inequities.
  3. Community focus: Integrate community centered focus in the assessment, development, and dissemination of public health research, policy and practice.
  4. Transdisciplinary training: Formulate, analyze, and advocate for multi-sector solutions to improve population health across interdisciplinary settings.
  5. Applied practice-based research: Translate rigorous research and evidence-based best practices to transform public health systems to meet the needs of local or global communities.
  6. Practice-based leadership: Identify personal leadership strengths and opportunities for growth in practice-based settings, through awareness of self, ability to work with and through others, and ability to identify and work through organizational dynamics.

The Interdisciplinary MPH is an individualized concentration with individually defined learning goals. In addition to the required coursework, the advisor and student, together, are responsible for identifying elective courses to create appropriate curricular depth/expansion on foundational knowledge and skills according to the student’s individual learning goals, and for defining a set of at least five competencies articulating the unique set of knowledge and skills that justifies awarding the Interdisciplinary MPH degree and differentiates the degree from other concentrations.

In addition to the 5 concentration competencies specific to the Interdisciplinary MPH listed below, students are encouraged to select concentration competencies from other tracks, as they apply to the elective course work students select.

  1. Demonstrate methodological expertise for public health research in choosing appropriate study designs, in calculating and interpreting measures of health risks, disease and their associations.
  2. Apply interdisciplinary approaches to integrate social, political, economic, and ecological dimensions to contextualize public health problems and opportunities.
  3. Identify ethical challenges and principles for guiding public health planning, implementation and evaluation.
  4. Practice writing skills needed for authoring a peer-reviewed scientific publication.
  5. Evaluate public health research, summarize current knowledge, interpret the implications for public health policies and programs, and make recommendations for improvement.

1. Analyze how the sources and health effects of major environmental and occupational hazards are identified and assessed.

2. Use the principles of exposure science to analyze environmental and occupational exposures.

3. Identify factors that affect vulnerability of sub-populations to health effects of environmental and occupational exposures.

4. Use risk assessment and other methods to assess environmental health hazards and identify mitigative measures.

5. Systematically analyze environmental health policies or regulations for their impact on population health or environmental justice.

6. Explain how environmental protection and environmental health are promoted through basic principles and approaches of environmental policy development and implementation.

7. Review and interpret prior research on an environmental health problem to identify knowledge gaps, articulate research questions, and describe appropriate methods to fill these gaps.

1. Demonstrate methodological expertise for epidemiological research in choosing appropriate study designs, in calculating and interpreting measures of disease and association, in identifying and addressing sources of bias in studies, in estimating and interpreting confounding and effect measure modification, and in applying causal frameworks to the assessment of causality in associations.

2. Implement methods of data management and cleaning for epidemiologic data sets, including using SAS and/or R.

3. Recognize and conduct appropriate regression analysis techniques to analyze data from medical and other public health studies.

4. Interpret study findings including critically identifying strengths and limitations of individual studies.

5. Describe the history of epidemiology.

6. List and explain the core principles underlying the ethics of human research (ie autonomy/respect for person; justice; beneficence; and non-maleficence).

  1. Analyze how the sources and health effects of major environmental and occupational hazards are identified and assessed.
  2. Use the principles of exposure science to characterize and understand environmental exposures in low- and middle-income countries
  3. Propose environmental health policies or regulations and analyze their potential impact on global population health.
  4. Use an environmental justice lens to analyze disparities in exposures to environmental contaminants.
  5. Review and interpret prior research on an environmental health problem to identify knowledge gaps, articulate research questions, and describe appropriate methods to fill these gaps.
  1. Distill and apply theory and empirical evidence to develop an implementable intervention or program plan to improve health, including literature review and logic model/theory of change.
  2. Evaluate the effects of community intervention programs or policies.
  3. Respectfully develop and evaluate theory-informed interventions for governmental and/or non-governmental organizations to promote health.
  4. Identify ethical challenges and principles for guiding public health planning, implementation and evaluation.
  5. Apply critical social analysis to issues of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, economic status, colonialism and other important axes of difference and power as they impact health and public health practice.
  6. Apply key social scientific approaches to understanding racism and developing anti-racist and intersectional approaches to public health.
  7. Apply a trauma-informed lens to public health research and practice.

1. Apply skills in collaboration, coaching and influencing to achieve organizational, policy or strategic initiative goals.

2. Evaluate and select options for effective diffusion of innovation within a healthcare organization.

3. Utilize an inclusive approach to management decision making.

4. Analyze financial statements, cost and managerial information to assess and promote the financial health of a unit, organization, or system.

5. Apply analytic tools and techniques to make sound short and long-term investment decisions within a health care environment.

6. Examine dynamics in the design, adoption, or implementation of health policies.

7. Analyze policies for their impact on health and health equity.

8. Understand how to use advocacy tools to change health policy.

9. Utilize economic theory to assess the efficiency and equity of current and proposed health policies.

10. Analyze the role of incentives in shaping behaviors of health sector stakeholders.

  1. Apply the following frameworks of principles of infectious disease to describe each infectious disease: microbiology, epidemiology, clinical spectrum, immunology, pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention.
  2. Describe the major viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitological agents of infectious diseases of humans and the nonhuman animal sources of some of these infectious agents.
  3. Discuss how infectious diseases impact public health problems.
  4. Describe how the social, behavioral, environmental, and administrative/policy components of public health affect infectious disease occurrence and distribution.
  5. Discuss how infectious disease surveillance systems are used to detect, control, and prevent outbreaks, and how they are used to study modes of infectious disease transmission, predict trends, and monitor response to interventions.
  6. Assess different epidemiological, statistical, or computational biological methodologies and assessment techniques to analyze infectious disease modes of transmission and risk factors.
  7. Discuss the role of local, state, federal, and international public health agencies in the prevention and control of infectious diseases.
  1. Discuss a problem facing MCAH populations with an evidence-based rationale for why it is a topic of importance.
  2. Identify and evaluate the relative contribution of individual and environmental factors associated with maternal and child health.
  3. Identify a maternal and child health issue and evaluate a policy solution.
  4. Interpret results of epidemiologic studies of maternal and child health problems and synthesize published epidemiological literature in order to summarize current knowledge and develop and test strong research questions that will advance knowledge in the field of maternal and child health.
  5. Apply basic principles of quantitative research and epidemiology for understanding and addressing MCH problems.

1. Describe the magnitude, distribution and trends of nutrition problems in populations.

2. Explain dietary influences including social determinants on health outcomes, and identify population-based strategies to improve nutritional health.

3. Assess the nutritional status of individuals using anthropometric, diet and biochemical methods.

4. Evaluate nutrition research and interpret the implications for public health policies and programs, identifying key issues that address social inequities.

5. Apply interdisciplinary approaches to integrate social, political, economic, and ecological dimensions to contextualize nutrition, food systems and health problems and opportunities.

Academic Degrees

1. Understand the foundations of statistical inference, including probably distributions, translating a health question into a statistical parameter, choose estimation and inferential strategy

2. Understand the fundamentals of causal inference, including the process of identification of causal parameters, and the estimation of resulting estimands.

3. Have the ability to apply existing estimators in two of four of the following categories: computational statistics (CS), multivariate analysis (MA), generalized linear models (GLM), survival analysis (SA), longitudinal data analysis (LDA), statistical genomics (SG), machine learning (ML).

4. Have fluency in statistical programming languages for both analysis using classic methods, implementation of novel methods, and analyze estimators through simulation.

5. Have an understanding of the most important theoretical concepts in modern statistical estimation and inference. These include empirical process theory, asymptotic linearity, and efficiency theory.

6. Effectively communicate research findings, orally and in writing.

  1. Analyze how the sources and health effects of major environmental and occupational hazards are identified and assessed.
  2. Use the principles of exposure science to analyze environmental and occupational exposures
  3. Identify factors that affect vulnerability of sub-populations to health effects of environmental and occupational exposures.
  4. Use risk assessment and other methods to assess environmental health hazards and identify mitigative measures.
  5. Conduct research on an environmental health or occupational health problem and synthesize information to make recommendations.

1. Demonstrate methodological expertise for epidemiological research in choosing appropriate study designs, in calculating and interpreting measures of disease and association, in identifying and addressing sources of bias in studies, in estimating and interpreting confounding and effect measure modification, and in applying causal frameworks to the assessment of causality in associations.

2. Collaborate with both investigators and statistical colleagues in the analysis of data from biomedical and public health studies applying knowledge of summary evidence using systematic review or meta-analysis.

3. Implement methods of data management and cleaning for epidemiologic data sets, including using SAS and/or R.

4. Recognize and conduct appropriate regression analysis techniques to analyze data from medical and other public health studies.

5. Interpret study findings including critically identifying strengths and limitations of individual studies.

6. List and explain the core principles underlying the ethics of human research (ie autonomy/respect for person; justice; beneficence; and non-maleficence).

  1. Analyze how the sources and health effects of major environmental and occupational hazards are identified and assessed.
  2. Use the principles of exposure science to characterize and understand environmental exposures in low- and middle-income countries.
  3. Propose environmental health policies or regulations for their impact on global population health.
  4. Use an environmental justice lens to analyze disparities in exposures to environmental contaminants
  5. Conduct research on an environmental health or occupational health problem and synthesize information to make recommendations.

1. Apply advanced methodology to research projects in environmental health sciences and develop new approaches to address environmental health problems.

2. Develop and demonstrate written and oral communications skills by preparing papers, summaries, briefings and presentations regarding environmental health science.

3. Clarify critical gaps in scientific knowledge that impede the resolution of environmental health problems and plan original research that will lead to solutions of such problems.

4. Conceive, develop and conduct original research leading to useful applications in environmental health sciences, toxicology, environmental health policy or industrial hygiene.

5. Understand advanced analytic methods in environmental health science.

1. Independently identify study questions that will advance scientific knowledge about a topic of public health significance.

2. Use appropriate statistical methods, including multivariate models, to analyze data from epidemiologic studies using cross-sectional, case-control, or cohort designs.

3. Critically review scientific manuscripts and research proposals.

4. Independently design and implement epidemiologic studies, incorporating principles of causal inference and addressing sources of bias and methods to improve the validity of epidemiologic studies.

5. Develop a research proposal that states a study question, presents a scientific and public health rationale for its significance and specifies a detailed methodology for carrying out an epidemiologic study to answer the question.

6. Design study management, data collection, and data management protocols.

7. Communicate the results of such studies orally and in writing in such a way that non-epidemiologically trained practitioners or the general public can understand their applicability.

8. Present oral and written reports on such studies that satisfy the criteria for sound science.

1. Apply theoretical and conceptual models relevant to health policy and health services research.

2. Pose relevant and important research questions for health policy and health services research.

3. Describe the strengths and weaknesses of study designs to appropriately address specific health policy and health services research questions.

4. Demonstrate proficiency in the appropriate application of analytical techniques to evaluate health policy and health services research questions.

5. Effectively communicate findings and implications of health policy and health services research through multiple modalities to scientific peers and other stakeholders.

1. Describe viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitological agents of infectious diseases of humans; explain biological, molecular, cellular and immunological mechanisms of infection and disease; and demonstrate advanced
knowledge of molecular biology, microbiology, immunology, biochemistry and cell biology.

2. Understand various epidemiologic analytical study designs to address infectious disease occurrence and distributions in human populations.

3. Increase our understanding of infectious diseases and immunology through basic and translational research that contributes to developing new diagnostics, treatments, and methods to prevent or control diseases.

4. Apply statistical methods appropriately to analyze laboratory and/or epidemiological data.

5. Develop a research proposal that states a study question, presents a scientific and public health rationale for its significance and specifies a detailed methodology for carrying out the research project.

6. Organize, analyze and present scientific data in a lucid manner through oral communications.

7. Design, conduct, and publish original research in the area of infectious diseases and immunity.

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