South Florida Hospital News
Friday October 23, 2020
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August 2017 - Volume 14 - Issue 2
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NSU Master of Public Health Program Helps Students Realize Their Potential

Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Master of Public Health program provides students with the knowledge, and skills to tackle issues across the globe, as well as in their respective communities. Students with a clinical background find the program furthers their understanding of illnesses afflicting their patients as it opens their eyes to other health determinants, such as the environment, socioeconomic status, and education. The program thrives on community engagement and works to connect students to projects that help them realize their passion and potential. 

Rachel Bruno, M.D., M.Sc., an international student who trained as a general practitioner in Haiti, chose to pursue an M.P.H. degree at NSU to better address chronic diseases affecting her patients. A comment made during her orientation by Cyril Blavo, D.O., M.P.H., and T.M., chair of the college’s Department of Public Health, sticks with her to this day. “Don’t wait until you graduate to do public health work,” Dr. Blavo said. “Do it right now while you’re in school.”
 
With that mindset, Dr. Bruno is developing a peer support group called Drop the Sugar for people with diabetes in Haiti. The idea started as a homework assignment in her epidemiology class, but quickly became more than that when her professor suggested she make it a real initiative. She then met with Dr. Blavo and her advisors to bring her idea to fruition. The pilot project is expected to launch in Haiti this October. Dr. Bruno believes it is the faculty’s proactive mentoring that sets the program apart.
 
Tony Swicer, a second-year NSU osteopathic medicine student, also comes from a clinical background. Prior to enrolling as a dual-degree student to pursue both his Master of Public Health and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees, he worked as a paramedic and later managed an ambulance service. Swicer decided to pursue both degrees concurrently because he believes understanding how all sides of the health system work will make him a better advocate for his patients.
 
Combining his paramedic experience with his M.P.H. training, Swicer recently started working on a South Florida initiative alongside physicians to improve cardiac arrest rates by training local EMS responders and initiating new practices. He believes the M.P.H. program teaches topics other health professional training programs do not, such as the interconnectivity of personal health and the built environment.
 
By allowing and encouraging students to be involved in public health initiatives from the beginning of the program, students graduate as strong public health practitioners. They learn how to apply new knowledge in their current clinical setting and are encouraged to pursue other interests in the health care field.
 
The accredited Master of Public Health degree at Nova Southeastern University requires a minimum of 42 semester hours, including public health field experience and a comprehensive examination. The course may be completed within two to five years of matriculation and is offered on-site and online. Supervised elective field-based courses and research opportunities are also available.

For more information, visit www.nova.edu/ph or contact Dr. Cyril Blavo at (954) 262-1613 or cblavo@nova.edu. Shari Ramchal is Student Outreach Coordinator, Bachelors, Graduate, and Community Education.

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