University to offer online public health certificate in the fall

Lafene Health Center offers multiple over-the-counter medicines along with behind-the-counter prescriptions. (Katelin Woods | Collegian Media Group)

On March 27, Kansas State announced the addition of an online public health graduate certificate.

In a press release, Ellyn Mulcahy, director of K-State’s master of public health program, said the certificate was created to provide public health practitioners both locally and nationally the opportunity to update their skills.

The certificate will be offered starting in fall of 2020 and will be taught entirely online.

According to the release, the certificate will require 15 credit hours and will promote knowledge in five core areas of public health: biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, health services administration and social/behavioral sciences.

“The 15 credit hour online program offers timely skills in disease surveillance, data collection, communication, leadership and policy-making,” the release says.

Mulcahy said the experience will be the same as an in-person class, even though it is online.

“Our on-campus classes and online classes are taught by the same professors,” Mulcahy said. “These professors have developed their course materials over several years for both formats of course offerings and are dedicated to ensuring that our students are engaged and receiving the same level of education, attention and access.”

The online classes will utilize class discussions, live and recorded lectures and team projects in the same manner as on-campus classes. Mulcahy said the course content and assessments are all the same, and they purposefully think about each components of the certificate to ensure students have the same experience, whether it is online or on campus.

Ashley Helm, a former K-State pre-nursing student who is now at the Research College of Nursing in Kansas City, said she was not concerned about the online class format, especially since all classes are currently online due to COVID-19 concerns.

“I don’t think it being online is a problem at all,” Helm said. “I feel that if you are passionate about learning what this course has to offer, you can then offer that to the world and being online should not be a problem”.

Helm said she would have considered taking the courses for the online certificate if she was given that opportunity while in Manhattan.

“I think these courses would have been quite beneficial for me to take while I was at K-State,” Helm said. “I believe that with these courses under my belt I would have had a leg up in some of my classes”.

Mulcahy said they have seen an increase in online programs over the last few years, but K-State has one of the first public health programs that offers this form of training.

“K-State already offers many online certificates so I believe this will be an excellent addition to the choice that our students have for training,” Mulcahy said.