Introduction to GeoHealth

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The Keck School of Medicine of USC is proud to announce the launch of its GeoHealth track as part of the Master of Public Health online program. Find out what GeoHealth is, the courses that set this track apart, and how this degree could impact your professional career and communities around the world.

Transcript

Good afternoon. Welcome to the Master of Public Health online programs introduction to GeoHealth webinar. Presented by the Keck School of Medicine of USC. I am Kiana Lloyd, and I will be your host today. First, I’d like to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us. Before we begin, I’d like to review what you can expect during the presentation. To cut down on background noise we’ve muted your phone lines, so you can hear us but we cannot hear you. If you have any questions, please type them into the Q&A box in the lower right hand corner of your screen and hit send. Feel free to enter your questions as you think of them. We’ll answer as many as time allows at the end of the presentation. A PDF and a recording of today’s presentation will be available shortly after the event.
Here’s a quick look at what we will be covering. Dr. Shubba Kumar, the director of the MPH online program, will introduce us to USC, the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and the MPH online program. Next, we will hear from Dr. John Wilson, the director the spatial science institute. He will cover what is GeoHealth, course offerings and learning outcomes, as well as career opportunities. Then, I will give an overview of the admissions requirements for the application process. Lastly, we will end the presentation with a Q&A session.
Now, let’s get started. Hello Dr. Kumar, thank you for joining us today.

Dr. Shubba K: Hey Kiana, thank you for having me. Hi everyone, my name is Shubba Kumar and I’m the director of the MPH online program as well as an assistant professor here in the department within global health, and I am happy to introduce you to our program today. Next slide please.
First I’ll tell you a little bit about the University of Southern California. We were established in 1880, and we’re located in downtown Los Angeles. We’re one of the worlds leading private research universities. We have 17 graduate and professional schools, and over 340 masters, certificate, and doctoral programs in the university. In our last academic year we had over 17,000 undergraduate students and 18,000 graduate and professional students. USC is also home to more international students than any other US university.
The Keck School of Medicine within USC, which is where our program is housed, was established in 1885. We’re the oldest medical school in Southern California. We’re located on USC’s health sciences campus, which is just East of the downtown LA campus. We’re home to the Keck Medical Center of USC, which is a state of the art academic medical center, comprised of the Keck Hospital of USC as well as the USC North Cancer Hospital. These are both world class hospitals and staffed by more than 500 physicians, who are also faculty within the school of medicine. Keck is also partnered with our nearby Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
We’re home to several research institutes, including the North Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Eli and Edith Broad Center of Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine. CardioVascular Thoracic Institute, as well as the Institute for Global Health. Next slide please.
The MPH program itself. Our on campus program was established in 1998, and we launched our online program last year in 2013. Our mission is to assist in creating healthy communities by preparing graduates to lead and collaborate with others in organized community efforts across a variety of settings. Focusing on disease prevention and health promotion among diverse populations. Our core curriculum provides foundational training in public health and consists of five courses that you see here. Foundations in health education and promotion. Health services delivery. Principles of biostatistics. Epidemiology, and environmental health.
After you complete your core courses, you can choose to specialize in one of four tracks. We currently offer a track in biostatistics and epidemiology, health education and promotion, global health leadership, and our newest track in GeoHealth, which you’re going to hear about more today.
After finishing your track courses, you then choose a public health agency where you’d like to do your practicum. A practicum is a 300 hour field training, which essentially gives you an opportunity to apply the skills you’ve learned in your course work in an actual practice setting. You can do your practicum at almost any agency dealing with public health across the globe. We have affiliation agreements with over hundreds of sites in various countries, and the list is always growing based on student interest.
Your entire degree including the practicum can be completed in two years if you enroll full-time, although we do have a part-time option for those of you who may be interested in that. Now, I’m going to turn it over to my colleague Dr. John Wilson, who will tell you more about our newest track in GeoHealth.

Dr. John Wilson: Thank you Shubba, and welcome everybody. I’m a professor of spatial sciences and sociology and director of the spatial sciences institute, and I’m on our university PAC campus, which is south of downtown and maybe six miles from the health sciences campus. In general, the spatial sciences have to do with how information can be acquired, can be organized, represented, analyzed, modeled, and visualized geographically. It’s about what is where, and so it’s sort of the science of location. The key thing in terms of this collaboration is that I imagine that the spatial sciences are an enabling science, and so that in many different fields including health one could use a spatial way of thinking about some of the problems and opportunities and that there’s some advantage, some value to be gained from that.
Before I go to the next slide though, let me say something about the origin of our collaboration between the Keck School of Medicine and, I’m part of the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. That’s the fact that by combining forces here, the goal is to bring the best that we have to offer in terms of public health and all the things that Shubba talked about, and to bring the best that we have to offer as an institution in terms of the spatial sciences. If we do this collaboration properly, than the sum of the parts is more than the parts themselves.
This is a unique undertaking and I don’t personally know of any place where somebody’s attempted this kind of collaboration before. We on both sides of the campus here are I think genuinely excited with the opportunity this afford us.
Next, I want to go to the slide and maybe talk briefly about what is GeoHealth. Fundamentally, given the spirit of the spatial sciences as an enabling discipline, the idea is that if you can think about your world and things of interest in that world geographically, and you can organize and analyze and visualize data that way, one might have the opportunity to see or to clarify some new perspectives. People around the world increasingly use location based data and geo-spatial technologies to clarify the role of place maybe as a variable in the analysis of disease. Why does this disease occur here and not somewhere else for example. The social determinants of human health and wellbeing. Maybe we’re all exposed to the same level of pollutants, same kind of pollutants, but the outcomes are different different places, why is that.
For example, it might have to do with the kinds of houses we live in and how well the indoor air is filtered and different than the air we breathe outdoors. Then, that leads to the environmental factors that influence health outcomes. In Southern California over the last 20, 30 years, we’ve seen a gradual improvement in air quality. However, we’ve seen a tremendous increase in the number of vehicles on the roads, and notwithstanding the fact that various steps have been taken to change what comes out the exhaust pipes of those vehicles, we still have elevated levels of pollutants immediately adjacent to really busy roads.
Recently some colleagues in the Keck School of Medicine and my group here in spatial sciences have done some work for example, we’ve looked at well what’s the likely cost of those local pollutants, and who are likely to be effected. Therefore, it’s to some extent about how local and national context shape health outcomes in health inequalities, and even about the performance of healthcare facilities and systems, and I’ll share an example of that in a moment.
One place that you see all of these things in play right now is in this terrible and rapidly evolving and unfolding Ebola crisis, that starts in West Africa and little by little seems to be spreading across much of the world, given the fact that we’re all connected to one another now. Indeed, in order to fight the crisis in West Africa we have to send trained doctors and nurses to help, given the lack of those resources in place in those places.
Obviously in determining where the risks are, who’s at risk, who could be infected and everything else, along with a host of other variables, the location variables are critical. The first line of defense is understanding who each of us has been in contact with, or who we might have been in contact with, and what level of risk comes from that.
Next I’ll shift to what the GeoHealth track actually is. We have our own vibrant online programs. We have currently, we’ve been teaching a masters in geographic information science and technology and a graduate certificate in the same fields. The graduate certificate since 1998 I think, and the masters program since 2008. We’ve been doing this for a while now, and we have about 250 students in our programs. The classes on the slide here are all classes that exist, so the concepts of spatial thinking is to get somebody new to the field situated, so what does it mean to think spatially, how does one do that, what are the likely rewards of doing that, what’s the kind of pedagogy, the process by which one would do that, and where might it all lead. For example, the map that’s shown on the slide is one possible ending place. Or, alternatively, it could be a starting place.
No prior geographic training is required. We will use that first class to get you up to speed, and we’ll show you some of the technology that you can use to augment your native spatial thinking skills at the same time. The second required class at the top of this list is a class about spatial analysis, and so this is about taking data and doing something to it so that it yields new insights, right. An example of this I’ll share once I get through the list of classes.
Then, you take two of the three electives that are listed here, so spatial modeling is sort of the extension of spatial analysis. Spatial analysis is trying to make sense of data you’ve already collected. Spatial modeling is trying to make sense maybe of those data by doing more with them. Remote sensing is about describing things on or near the Earths surface from afar, and it affords tremendous opportunities in terms of the scope of coverage. You can basically collect data for the whole world and with the repetition that you can do that.
It’s a really big thing for example in humanitarian crises, in large earthquakes, large storms and so forth, because after the event there’s an urgent need to collect a lot of data about a relatively large area quickly. Remote sensing is good at contributing some of those data. Then, the cartography and visualization is all about the map, and how to make and use effective maps and interpret maps and so forth as you go along.
Now, to the example. Recently I had the good privilege to have to know somebody who was at the time the lead for health applications within [inaudible] corporation. We were talking generally about how spatial perspectives and the ways in which people are collecting and organizing and sharing health records now, the tremendous opportunities that would afford to understand the role of place in disease and health and wellbeing, and the performance of healthcare facilities and the like. He shared an example of a hospital on the East Coast where basically somebody had taken the kinds of tools that we will introduce you to in concepts of spatial thinking, our first class, and then used them to construct a model of how the radiology group within the hospital operated.
First they produced a map of where all the different pieces of the radiology group were within the hospital, and then what they did was to model a series of typical workflows. They could understand who had to go and see who, what had to be transported from place A to place B, et cetera, et cetera. At the end of that analysis they discovered that some of the most highly paid staff spent a considerable part of their day walking between offices to collect things so they could do something that only they were capable of doing, maybe it was to read a …

Dr. John Wilson: … something that only they were capable of doing, maybe it was to read a image or do something like that. So here’s an example of how spatial analysis could be used to reorganize where you house the radiology group, how you organize which offices are next to which other offices, and without buying any new equipment or buying anymore stuff or anything like that, maybe you could achieve the same level or performance or a better level of performance all the while saving, maybe, 20% of the cost of operating the facilities and the staff that you already had.
So that’s the kind of advantage that the Geohealth track is designed to situate you with, and hopefully, to prepare you so that you can go out to the rest of your career and find similar opportunities to make a difference in the world, to have an impact.
So the next slide. So the ideal candidate for the Geohealth track is someone’s who’s interested in the role of place, in how it influences a person’s health prospects, outcomes, the accessibility to healthcare facilities, and so on. And we already have some experience training people that have those kinds of interests. They don’t get the best training in the world because if they took our GIS degree maybe they know a lot about GIS, but they know only what they’ve taught themselves about public health.
But in any case, those people, in my experience, have been successful at carving out jobs and careers for themselves and federal agencies, like the National Cancer Institute. If you go, for example, to the NCI website you’ll see a whole series of sections of breakout data and shared data with anybody’s that’s interested in map form. So you can imagine then, there’s a team sitting behind that that create those maps, that update those maps on a regular basis and organize web services and map services so that they can share that information with the public.
If you drill down to the state and county level, there are health departments that fundamentally have the same teams, but of course, are focused on a smaller area. I know in Los Angeles County, for example, we have such a group, but remember, Los Angeles is special because if it were a state it would be the eight largest state in the nation. It’s the largest county among two and a half thousand in the US.
Health provider networks, like Blue Shield and Kaiser and others, have a vibrant and growing interest in the spatial advantage, spatial intelligence and what it can bring to them understanding the kinds of populations they could or need to serve in terms of rationalizing and improving the delivery of services within hospitals and other health facilities.
There’s still a problem with insurance and access to healthcare across the United States, and even worse when you think about it across the world. So there are a lot of nonprofits, both locally and nationally and globally, that are dedicated to trying to bring health services to people that currently lack them. And increasingly those people take a geographic perspective and use a geographic perspective to understand where they need to go, what they need to take, which kinds of specialists they take, and how can they have the biggest impact possible with the resources at their disposal.
And then last there’s a whole group of opportunities that are maybe linked to either research and/or communications because obviously there needs to be a dynamic relationship between healthcare services and providers and the public that they either are contracted to serve or that they, maybe, should serve, and how to connect those and keep them connected and each other informed is often best achieved, again, through the medium of a map.
And so when you think spatial, think about mapping, think about analysis on top of maps, and think about being able to move up and down in terms of geographic scales from problems like Ebola, that seemed to afflict large regions, if not the whole world to things that are particularly local, like what happens if you go to school next to a busy road and what that might mean in terms of equality for your children when they’re on the playground and so forth. So, lots of opportunities, big future ahead of us, and our collaboration is motivated by the desire to train the generation of professionals who can seize and advance those opportunities.
So with that I’ll turn it back so we can talk about admission requirements.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you Dr. Wilson. Now I will give an overview of the admissions requirements for the application process. To apply for this program, you need a bachelor degree from a regionally accredited institution, with a 3.0 GPA or above. You would need to send in transcripts from each institution attended and a minimal GRE score of 297 or above, which is a breakdown of 153 in the verbal/reasoning segment and 124 in the quantitative reasoning segment. You would need three letters of recommendation, as well as, a personal statement of purpose, which is a brief personal statement describing your reasons for pursuing the master of public health online degree, how the degree will enhance or transition your career, and what you hope to contribute to the field. You would need a professional resume or CV, and for our international students, additional materials may be required.
Now it’s time for our question and answer session. Please take some time now, if you haven’t already, and type your questions into the Q&A box in the lower right hand corner of your screen and hit send.
We will now try to answer some questions that were submitted. We have Dr. Shubha Kumar, Dr. Wilson, and I’ve also asked another admissions advisor, Phillip DeLauria, to join us. Our first question is if we do the part time program, can we still … if we do part time or full time, can we still fill our 300 hours of practical experience while working? Also does USC provide us with places where we can work, or is that something we have to find on our own?
We can actually direct that to our admission advisor, Phillip DeLauria. Would you like to answer that for us please?

Phillip D.: Sure. You can. You can fill the 300 hours of practical experience either part time or full time. And then, as far as places where you can work, USC does have over 200 different agencies who we partner with. If there is a agency that you had in mind you can work with the practicum coordinator there, as well.

Dr. Shubba K: So, I’ll just add to that a little bit. This is Dr. Kumar. Many of our students who are doing the practicum requirement because they’re working full time they actually start the hours early. So on campus students typically do their practicum in the last semester before they graduate, however, we allow students, especially students who are working full time, if you want to space out the 300 hours to start earlier once you’ve completed at least two track courses. So if you want to split up the time between your practicum work and regular schooling, that’s an option.
And we do have students who decide to do the practicum at their current place of work, as long as it’s separate from their regular job duties. So it is doable to complete the 300 hours while you’re working, whether you’re enrolled part time or full time. And as Phil mentioned, we have over 100 afflation agreements with existing practicum sites. However if you have a particular interest in an agency or area of work, we welcome students to identify where they really want to do their practicum and use it as a opportunity to get their foot in the door for a future job, either at that institution or a similar institution or to move up in their current career. And, as Phil mentioned, with the practicum coordinator, we help you place in those agencies if we don’t already have an existing affiliation agreement.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you, Dr. Kumar and Phillip. Our next question is is the GeoHealth industry a growing field in public health? And I’m gonna combine that with another question. Do many people move to private companies with this degree? And, Dr. Wilson, if you can answer that for us.

Dr. John Wilson: I think most of the evidence points to some modest growth over the last decade and that the rate is now accelerating. And the kind of evidence that I see of that assertion … if you look at the November Association of Public Health meeting in New Orleans, I think, one of their themes for the conference is linking geography and health. So that’s them tipping their hand to the fact that this is a tremendous opportunity for future discoveries, future employment, future helping to shape and improve the effectiveness of various kinds of interventions that are designed to improve human wellbeing and health.
And this maybe has come of age for a couple of different reasons. One is that we’ve tacked some of the easy things so now we have the opportunity to tackle things that maybe occur on smaller scales. In order to do that we need to understand how the places we work, the places we live, the places we recreate, how that impacts our wellbeing and distribution and exposure to disease, to pollutants, and other things.
That’s really nothing new, but for the fact that our capabilities to do this are tremendously improved. And one reason it’s improved is because, of course, we live in a digital age and we now have the opportunity to follow people, more or less, through all the places they’ve lived. And so we can begin to build space time trajectories of people and all the places they’ve moved through and experienced, and we can get to understand what that might mean.
And so an example would be with Myles Cockburn, who’s one of Shubha’s colleagues in the Department of Primary Medicine, a few years ago we took some self reported data about melanoma. So he had a case control study and he wanted to … he was trying to understand why some people have melanoma and some people don’t. So the cases and controls were roughly similar in most respects except they reported their activities when they were kids and young adults, even though at the time of the questionnaire distribution they might have been in their mid 40s and 50s.
And so, for example, is there any evidence that if you spend a lot of time out in the sun as a kid that’s gonna come back later in life and mean an increased risk of melanoma. And just looking at the data from the questionnaire there was no sort of [systical] inference that was possible. But for every person from birth to that point in their life, he knew the county that they had lived. And if you live in King County, Washington, Seattle, you’re gonna have a different sun exposure than if you live in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
And so what I was able to do is to translate the counties they’d lived in to an estimate of their likely cumulative sun exposure from birth to that point in their life, and as well, I could pinpoint the kinds of exposures they experienced, maybe, in five year periods. And when you added the geo information to the health information and the lifestyle information you already had, suddenly what it showed was that, indeed, what kinds of sun exposure you have as a teenager, say maybe ages 12 to, maybe, 20 or 22, there abouts, that had a big impact on the likelihood, depending on your genetic disposition of either suffering from various forms of melanoma or not later in life.
And so it’s the power of the two put together that’s the value here, right? And epidemiology as a field is often credited with starting the work of John Snow in London, way back in the 1850s, trying to understand how infectious diseases spread in some parts of London and were dormant in other places. And John Snow’s great contribution was that he put all of the people that were sick on a map and he put the water pumps that people used on a map and he was able to identify that the smallpox came from just a couple of water pumps. And if you would stop people using those and clean them up, then you had the ability to control the disease.
So, in a way, people have been using GeoHealth 150 years, but the opportunities to do this in the future are enormous because of all of the health records that are now assembled and maintained digitally. And the task then is to be able to use that information to strike out and find relationships and so forth.

Dr. John Wilson: Enter to strike out and find relationships and so forth. Was there a second question? I can’t remember. Sorry.

Kiana Lloyd: No, I think you answered.

Dr. John Wilson: All right.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you, Dr. Wilson. Our next question is, is there a typical profile of admitted students to the MPH program? Dr. Kumar can you answer that for us?

Dr. Shubba K: Sure. I would say our students come from very diverse backgrounds. So while there is the minimal admissions requirements in terms of having a bachelor’s degree and GRE, etc., students come from backgrounds in public health, in medicine, in nursing, in history and in English, in communication. So it’s a variety of backgrounds that are attracted to public health because you can do a lot of different things with a degree in public health. For instance, you can work in management, you can work in epidemiology and biostatistics, environmental health, etc.
We have students coming who are fresh out of college to those who have PhDs and doctorates whether they’re medical doctors or nurses or they’re even faculty at other universities. We have a very wide range of students who are interested in this program because some of them are using it as a way to start their career and others in terms of transitioning in their career who have already been established. Basically, just you need to have an interest in the field in addition to the minimum requirements. But there is a lot of openness with the program and the types of applicants who are applying and admitted.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you Dr. Kumar. Our next question is, from whom should letters of recommendation be from? Anyone in public health fields, physicians, etc. Philip, will you answer that question for us please?

Phillip D.: Sure. So letters of recommendation should be either professional or academic. Professional should come from either an immediate supervisor or manager. For academic, if you’ve graduated within the last five years, an academic letter will be required.

Kiana Lloyd: Okay. Thank you Phil. Our next question is directly for Dr. Wilson. Would the geohealth track possibly explore pollutants coming directly from the producer, such as oil refineries, process units, that reside geographically with residential communities?

Dr. John Wilson: I think the straight forward answer is yes. So what typically happens in special sciences classes that were on that slide that I shared with you earlier, is that we believe that it’s a hands on science as well. So most of our classes feature a student led project. Sometimes students work in teams but they also work individually. Most of them bring something they’re interested in exploring and what the faculty does is to organize that within a workflow that’s going to give you the best chance for success.
Obviously there are lots of legacy problems and therefore opportunities in environmental health given how we’ve chosen to locate various polluting industries as well as how we’ve chosen to locate where people live and work and recreate. Sometimes data may be a problem but increasingly there are federal and state agencies that have public data reporting requirements and so again this is another way in which I think the time is right, right now, to begin to do more of this kind of work.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you Dr. Wilson. Our next question is, what is the length of time for the validity of the GRE? Can Phil answer that for us?

Phillip D.: Sure. As long as it’s been within the last five years that’s when the GRE will expire.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you Phil. Our next question is, do you see the geohealth track as valuable for health care consulting? For example, targeting areas to open clinics associated with large urban hospitals. Dr. Wilson, can you answer that for us?

Dr. John Wilson: Well, that’s one of the things I’d be using it for. I think, not only thinking about the clinics but what kinds of services they could or should provide. We have some experience with that as well. A few years ago we built a system for the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. And one of their motivating questions was, “When you think of breast cancer, would it be more effective to be spending funds on a large number of distributed, relatively low level early screening facilities? Or would it be better to build a series of high end, full service hospitals to serve breast cancer patients?”
And the particular question they were interested in was whether or not the likelihood a young woman would take advantage of screening was in any way related to distance. Because if you’re going to have a few hospitals, then people are going to have to travel further to be screened versus if you have a lot of clinics that provide that first level of screening distributed across say, North America. And so we had to build a system that could be queried for all of the United States and all of Canada. It had to have a certain performance in terms of [inaudible] query and how fast you have to get an answer.
And so the question at hand was whether distance matters. Now if I’m a health care provider or I’m a consultant to a health care provider, I can flip the question the other way and not so much worry for the moment about the person that might benefit from treatment. But to answer the question for what kinds of services could I put in these communities and expect to find a level of demand that makes it viable to sustain it. Just the other day we were asked to do this for the USC hospitals because the USC hospitals have an ever expanding series of clinics across the L.A. basin and they want to put all of that together in some kind of web-mapping interface. I think the initial motivation is so that customers can find the appropriate facilities and what they have to offer easily. But I could see in the future that they might use the same kinds of technologies and the same kinds of questions to plan where they put what things where next.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you Dr. Wilson. Our next question is, if someone discovers over the course of their MPH that they want to pursue a PhD, do you believe having done the MPH online will make a difference? Dr. Kumar, can you answer that for us?

Dr. Shubba K: Sure. I don’t believe having done it online versus on campus will make a difference, if that’s the difference you’re questioning. The degree, when you get the degree, it just says you’ve earned an MPH from USC. It doesn’t specify whether it’s from the online or on campus program. So there really wouldn’t be any difference in terms of whether you were to do your MPH on campus or online.
However, I will say that you have to be proactive in reaching out to faculty when you’re doing … whether it’s an on campus or online course to really start building relationships and if you’re interested in doing a PhD here, looking into faculty who are doing research along your interest lines and networking with them. So it would be up to the student to establish those relationships. Sometimes it’s easier to do that in an on campus setting because you’re seeing faculty there at a face-to-face. However, it certainly can be done online as long as you participate, you reach out to faculty via email. You can set up meetings by phone, internet, or even come in person occasionally if you’re in the L.A. area. So in sum, I don’t think it would make a difference.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you Dr. Kumar.

Dr. John Wilson: I might just add something to that though. And that is, in special sciences, our first master’s graduate actually went to a PhD program at the University of Kansas. So it certainly … and since then I’ve been in touch with him and he’s done very well. And the other thing I’d say is that just last year we graduated somebody with a master’s degree and she enrolled in our master’s program and took our master’s degree at the same time she was pursuing a PhD in epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh. And so not only is it possible to transition from an MPH or some other online degree to a PhD, but there are examples of people that find ways to do both together including the combination that we’re talking about today where you get deep training in biostatistics and epidemiology and public health. And simultaneously you get deep training in the special sciences.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you Dr. Wilson. Our next question is, what are all the tracks currently available for the online program and is the environmental health possibly on the horizon for the online program? Phil, would you like to answer that for us?

Phillip D.: Sure. The tracks that are currently available for our online program is the biostatistics and epidemiology, health education and promotion, global health leadership, and our newest track, the geohealth track. And is environmental health possibly on the horizon for the online program? Currently not at this time.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you Philip. Our next question is, what is the tuition for this program? Philip, would you like to answer that for us as well?

Phillip D.: Sure. The current tuition is, per credit hour, $1,602 per credit hour. Per semester, it will come out to $12,816. Your total cost estimated for the two years will be $75,294.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you Phil. Our next question is, is a background in geography needed to be considered for the geohealth track? Dr. Wilson, can you answer that for us?

Dr. John Wilson: I don’t think you need that. And the reason is the concepts of special thinking class is basically designed to show you how that’s done. And most of us have some of those capabilities already built into our DNA. Somebody just won the Nobel Prize for understanding where location decisions and navigation and so forth occurs in terms of our brains. And it’s just a matter of bringing that to life. So we have tremendous experience and success doing that with our concepts of special thinking class.
And our idea, with all of our classes, is that they have a common set of core principles. And then what we will do is to focus on health applications as a way to bring those core principles to life. We already teach these classes, but we’ll have new sections that are dedicated to the master of public health students and in those classes all of the examples and applications, or many of them, will be tailored to health. Whereas in the other class, the other sections that we offer, there’d be a much broader array of domains that are covered. But it’s probably helpful but it’s not necessary.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you Dr. Wilson. Our last question is, what if my GPA is less than 3.0? Will I still be considered for the program? Dr. Kumar, can you answer that question for us?

Dr. Shubba K: Sure. We do look at applicant’s full profile in terms … including their GPA, their GRE, their work experience, letters of recommendation, essay, etc. So when we review an applicant’s profile we consider all of those factors. A 3.0, is a minimum requirement. However, if there are exceptional characteristics in some of the other areas, exceptions have been made.

Kiana Lloyd: Thank you Dr. Kumar. I’d like to say thank you to Dr. Kumar and Dr. Wilson, as well as Philip Deloria for taking time out to be here today. This concludes today’s webinar. Remember, if you have any questions or think it’s time to apply, please contact your enrollment advisor. Their contact information is on your screen now. There will be a pdf and a recording of this event and we will be able to send them out to you within the next week. Thank you again for joining us and have a wonderful day.