Department of Public Health

The Department of Public Health recognizes the intersection of the systems and structures of society with people’s health and well-being. We equip students with knowledge and skills for health promotion and disease prevention through interventions that improve population health while advancing health equity.

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Our Public Health Programs

The Department of Public Health offers both a Bachelor of Science (BSPH) and a Master’s (MPH) degree in Public Health. In the Bachelor program, students are challenged with a unique combination of interdisciplinary liberal arts education with a specialty focus on public health. Our Master in Public Program equips students with core principles and practices of public health while preparing them to tackle social and structural determinants of health.

The BSPH program instills the conceptual foundations and empirical bases for analyzing the interplay between science, society and health. Many pre-med and other health professions students also pursue the Minor in Public Health to augment their specialty education with this broad perspective. The B.S. in Public Health is offered on campus, as well as through our Complete Degree online program. Public Health majors may also fast-track their careers by pursuing master’s programs in Public Health or Nutrition through unique combined degree options.

The Department of Public Health offers a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a distinct focus on health equity. While students learn the general principles and practices of public health, they also learn to address structural determinants of health often situated in historical systems of oppression. This online program combines self-paced learning with interactive live class sessions with faculty and fellow students. MPH students also participate in two in-person immersion courses, one in Boston focused on racism, oppression, and health, and one in southern Arizona focused on immigration, health and restoration in the borderlands.

Why Public Health

CEPH Accredited Bachelor's Master's Seal

Due to global concerns regarding chronic and infectious disease, health inequities, food and water safety, and sanitation and environmental health issues, there is a rising demand for graduates with degrees in Public Health.

Students earning their Bachelor’s in Public Health degree learn how to interpret public health data, frame a public health issue, review and apply scientific literature, and present findings on approaches to the issue. In the Master of Public Health program, students learn about the intersections of public health and social justice, applying skills of policy analysis, community organizing, and community-based research methods in partnership with local organizations.

Demand for Public Health graduates is on the rise, allowing graduates with Public Health degree the opportunity to enter a range of careers, including public health policy specialists, program managers, emergency management specialists, health educators, epidemiologists, community health workers, researchers, and public health communicators—all seeking to identify and solve important issues in public health.

Department Mission, Vision and Values

Vision

Simmons Public Health advances a vision where all individuals and communities are assured fair and equitable opportunity to achieve optimal health and well-being, ensuring inclusivity across identities, locations and circumstances.

Mission

Simmons Public Health trains public health practitioners to advance population health and health equity through innovative education, transdisciplinary collaboration, applied research and practice, community organizing and engagement, and health advocacy for systems change. Our program prepares students in the general principles and practices of public health, and to address structural determinants of health often situated in historical systems of racism and other forms of oppression.

Values

  • Social Justice: We value social justice as a core concept of health equity, which embraces the uniqueness, dignity, and inherent value of all individuals and communities and challenges power differentials and structures that preclude fair opportunity for optimal health for all.
  • Community Partnership: Rather than work on behalf of, we strive always to work with the communities whose health we aim to enhance, through partnered knowledge production, participatory agenda setting, and collaborative action for social change.
  • Scientific Rigor and Integrity: We strive for outstanding performance in enacting health equity that is built on the foundation of scientifically rigorous research, evidence-based public health practice, and personal and professional integrity and ethics.
  • Critical Systems Thinking: In order to assess and address health inequities, we employ a critical lens to understand broad systems and structures that produce and reproduce inequities and injustices in health.
  • Innovative Leadership: Taking inspiration from past innovation, and challenging existing paradigms, we advance a model of leadership that imagines new systems and structures to improve health equity and create sustainable, transformative impact.

Public Health Requirements

Simmons University is nationally recognized for our exceptional Public Health programs that provide the conceptual and empirical foundation for analyzing the interplay between health, science, and society.

On-Campus Public Health Program Admission Requirements

Check out requirements and deadlines for undergraduate students and apply today!

Online Public Health Program Admission Requirements

Highlights of Simmons’ Public Health Programs

  • Our Public Health faculty are dedicated scholars, mentors, and practitioners engaged in research, public health practice, and advocacy nationally and internationally across a variety of critical public health topics
  • Undergraduate and graduate Public Health degree students participate in internships, service-learning, and research opportunities enhancing the in-classroom experience for deeper understanding of course concepts.
  • Students who graduate from Simmons University’s Public Health Program have excellent employment prospects as researchers, community health workers, policy officers, health program managers, and much more.

Department of Public Health in the News

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Assistant Professor of Public Health Kristen Brewer is a Champion of Sex Education

Kristen Brewer joined the Simmons Department of Public Health faculty in spring 2024. She spoke with us about her passion for health education, the stigmatization of sexuality in the Southeast, and the importance of community engagement.


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MPH@Simmons Assistant Program Director Meenakshi Verma-Agrawal on the Importance of Racial Justice in Public Health

The Master of Public Health (MPH) at Simmons University is an online program that requires students to participate in two in-person "immersion" experiences throughout their course of study, to gain hands-on public health experience and have the opportunity to collaborate with peers, faculty, local organizers, and public health leaders.


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With HERE4Justice, MPH Students Work to Advance Social Justice

For many students in the Department of Public Health, activism begins at Simmons. In 2018, MPH students established HERE4Justice, a student-run organization that works to advance health equity, racial equity, and social justice. "Students started this collective because they saw...


Assistant Teaching Professor of Public Health Charlotte Powley

Assistant Teaching Professor of Public Health Charlotte Powley Advocates for Menstrual Equity

Professor Charlotte Powley is both a researcher and an advocate. Her work reveals the urgent need for free access to period products. Professor Powley spoke with us about her recent findings and what needs to be done to achieve menstrual equity.


Simmons University Cupola

Simmons Hosts Virtual Panel of Experts: Roe v. Wade Meets the Dobbs Decision

On the evening of September 22, Simmons hosted a virtual conversation with faculty, practitioners, policymakers, and providers who discussed the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent Dobbs Decision. The panelists drew attention to the intersectional issues of reproductive rights, same-sex marriage, and contraception.


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Passionate Leaders Project: Spring 2022 Cohort

Passionate Leaders Project: Spring 2022 Cohort The Passionate Leaders Project (PLP) supports undergraduate students by funding research opportunities that transcend traditional coursework. Participants of the PLP develop research and critical thinking skills and bring the insights of academia to real...


Carolyn Rodgers

Public Health Professor of Practice Carolyn Rodgers Shares her Thoughts on the Overturning of Roe vs. Wade

Dr. Rodgers researches health disparities, mental health, health and nutrition, substance use, and fitness. She is co-founder of the American Heritage Youth Foundation (AHYF), a non-profit organization that supports community-based interventions. Dr. Rodgers is especially passionate about education, health, equity, and uplift.


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"American Dream or Generational Nightmare" An Interview with Meenakshi Verma-Agrawal

In the conversation below, Meenakshi Verma-Agrawal, Assistant Program Director and Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of Public Health at Simmons University, and Taylor Eubanks, graduate student in the Gender and Cultural Studies program, discuss Professor Verma-Agrawal's research on...


Public Health Faculty and Staff


Chair

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Valerie Leiter

Professor and Chair of the Public Health Department and Director of the Bachelor's Program in Public Health

Full-time Faculty

Amirmohsen Behja

Professor of Practice

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Kristen Brewer

Assistant Professor

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Leigh Haynes

Associate Professor of Practice and Director of the Master of Public Health Program

Dawna Thomas speaking at podium

Dawna Thomas

Professor and Department Chair

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Dolores Wolongevicz

Associate Professor of Practice and Director of the Health Professions Education Program

Adjunct and Part-time Faculty

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Qiana Amos

Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor

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Elise Brenner

Adjunct Faculty

Crystal Clarke

Adjunct Faculty

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Crystallee Crain

Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor

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Tiffany Crank

Adjunct Faculty

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Salimah El-Amin

Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor

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Marcelo Korc

Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor

Nykia Leach

Adjunct Faculty

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Kelli Ling

Adjunct Faculty

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Anna Modest

Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor

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Maile Panerio-Langer

Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor

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Sarah Perry

Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor

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Anu Puri

Adjunct Faculty

David Tybor

Adjunct Faculty

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Jennifer Ware

Adjunct Faculty in the Role of Section Instructor

Contact Us

Department of Public Health

The Department of Public Health offers a Public Health Bachelor of Science program that is a unique combination of an interdisciplinary liberal arts education with a specialty focus on public health, and a Master of Public Health degree with a distinct focus on health equity. Online and on-campus options are available to both undergraduate and graduate students.