Ohio University  

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Welcome to Ohio University!

The Department of Social and Public Health is where personal passion meets public good. Our department addresses the health and social service needs of the entire population, making an impact for generations to come.

  • The Master of Public Health, with a concentration in community health, prepares students to address community health needs locally, nationally, or internationally, in collaboration with partnering organizations and entities. Since OHIO is uniquely situated in the heart of rural Appalachia, students will complete coursework related to social, behavioral, environmental, and cultural determinants of rural health as well as courses focused on the assessment, design, implementation and evaluation of health interventions in a rural setting. Our MPH can be earned online or in-person.
  • The Master of Health Administration (opens in a new window) (MHA) program is more than just the next step in your professional journey. It’s a giant leap in your advancement as an executive leader. Delivered 100 percent online, this future-focused program is an ideal choice for busy professionals like you who are motivated and ready to advance as strategic leaders.

For more information, check us out at https://www.ohio.edu/chsp/social-public-health or send us an email sph@ohio.edu

The Global Health Initiative offers a number of global health programs that promote an understanding of global health issues, increase multicultural awareness and involve students, faculty and staff in research, education and outreach activities abroad and in immigrant communities in the U.S. For more information, check us out at https://www.ohio.edu/global-health or send us an email globalhealth@ohio.edu 


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 Press Releases

  • Ohio University has been ranked first in the state of Ohio on Animation Career Review’s inaugural rankings for Augmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) programs in the United States.

    OHIO was also ranked 36th overall in the U.S. and 19th among public schools. Animation Career Review is an online ranking service that helps high school students find the top university programs in AR/VR, animation, game design and graphic design.

    “We’re grateful for this recognition of the excellent training we offer in this fast-growing field,” Scripps College of Communication Dean Scott Titsworth said. “Our students have access to hands-on experience in AR and VR technology starting their first year and I’m excited at how we’re continuing to expand those opportunities.”

    Associate Professor John Bowditch, director of the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab, said the rankings are based on academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of the program faculty, value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness, graduation rate, geographic location and employment data. 

    “Ohio University has invested many resources in AR/VR to become a national hub for AR/VR research and education,” Bowditch said. “We hope that future recognition will continue to attract diverse students from all over the world.”

    Bowditch said OHIO has a VR and game development major, an MFA program with emphasis on VR/game design, and certificate opportunities such as esports. He said combining AR/VR classes are available under the ECT prefix.

    Associate Professor Julio Arauz, director of the J. Warren McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies, said the ECT Track allows students to acquire skills in AR/VR production and the fundamentals of online learning. He said students gain an understanding of the limits of systems that transport information. 

    “This understanding is critical in real time applications like online gaming, multi person VR experiences or the tactile Internet,” Arauz said.

    Original article: OHIO ranked first in state for Augmented/Virtual Reality programs

  • An interdisciplinary team of four undergraduate students recently competed in the FlyOhio Vertiport Innovation Challenge in collaboration with industry, government, education and community partners on Oct. 1-8, 2021. 

    The team was comprised of Blake Dowalter, a student in civil engineering; Lauren Parrell, a student in health services administration; Neil Bateman, a student in aviation flight; and Michael Variny, a student in mechanical engineering. This interdisciplinary team was handpicked by faculty collaborators in the College of Health Sciences and Professions and the Russ College of Engineering and Technology due to each student’s academic perspective and excellence.

    “In the professional world, people need to work across disciplines to address problems and create solutions, so opportunities like this for students to gain that type of experience are important and valuable for all involved,” said Cory Cronin, Ph.D., associate professor in the College of Health Sciences and Professions.

    The student group was led by a faculty advisory team including Jay Wilhelm, Ph.D., in mechanical engineering, Dr. Sam Khoury, Ph.D., in civil engineering, Paul Benedict as executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, and Cronin in the College of Health Sciences and Professions. The team was coached by Kamal Khouri, vice president and general manager automotive business line at GlobalFoundries. Scott Miller, associate dean for industry partnerships for the Russ College, coordinated the student team, faculty advisory team and coach. 

    FlyOhio Vertiport Challenge

    FlyOhio, a division of the Ohio Department of Transportation, seeks to rapidly advance the widespread use of vertical takeoff and landing vehicles in the Ohio airspace. FlyOhio and the Cincinnati Innovation District collaborated to support Ohio’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) ecosystem by engaging students from universities and colleges across the state in a one-week challenge, the FlyOhio Vertiport Challenge, focused on accelerating Ohio’s AAM system.

    AAM aims to transform transportation alternatives to include advancements in personal air vehicle development, air traffic management and infrastructure. As part of the Vertiport Challenge, student teams across the state of Ohio were required to develop a business plan for an equitable network of safe vertiports in their region. Vertiports are small airports for advanced aerial vehicles, including unpiloted drones or piloted aircraft. 

    The challenge is closely aligned with the NASA National Advanced Air Mobility Campaign, which splits the implementation of vertiports into three phases over the next 30 years. Teams were asked to design their business plan using one of the three phases with a specific focus on one of the two primary use cases for this technology: cargo and medical transport. The OHIO team, which represents the Southeast Ohio region, chose to address the medical transport use case implemented in phase one.

    “We had a unique opportunity compared to other teams. Athens County and southeast Ohio in general is very rural. In our presentation, we researched how vertiports could best be applied in rural regions instead of in cities,” said Dowalter, the civil engineering major.

    The team chose to focus on the phase one implementation of a vertiport network to address the immediate need for expanded healthcare transportation services for prescription delivery in rural Ohio. They explained that the roads in Athens County often require maintenance but lack the budget to support the required work. This explanation led them to the development of their plan to deliver both routine and emergency medical prescriptions by drones. 

    Their vision suggested that vertiports could be built upon aviation infrastructure that is already in place across the state but no longer in use. By creating a viable business plan, the OHIO team demonstrated that its plan could be implemented immediately, saving time, resources, and lives.

    The intersection of healthcare and technology

    The team featured students from both the College of Health Sciences and Professions and the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, which allowed the team to focus on the technological implementation alongside the healthcare accessibility implications of the proposal.

    “The field of health care has a wide range of issues and challenges that would benefit from interdisciplinary attention. Technological advancements in other fields may have the potential to help address some of these health care issues, and it’s worthwhile to pay attention to those opportunities,” Cronin said.

    The group opened their presentation with a hypothetical scenario of a child suffering from an allergic reaction without an EpiPen on hand. They used this scenario to explain that convenient access to healthcare is lacking in the southeast Ohio region due to its rurality, which can sometimes have life-altering consequences. The team took care to ensure that their approach improved equitable access to healthcare, a problem that currently affects residents of this region.

    “We focused on how we can make the health of the area better and save lives. Our idea was that the drones would get a signal from a 911 operator and then get to the scene with an emergency item, like an EpiPen or a defibrillator, faster than an EMT. We found that in rural areas it takes on average 14 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, and that is a very long time,” said Parrell, a senior in health services administration.

    Parrell’s experience as a student in the College of Health Sciences and Professions offered valuable insight into the competition, which was balanced by the knowledge of the technological implementation for the project from the students from the Russ College.

    “The breadth of knowledge [the] Ohio University [team] assembled was impressive. Over and over, questions came up about practicality, cost and design that I simply had no idea where to find. Our team could dig up anything — and we did,” said Bateman, the aviation flight major.

    Flight plans for the future

    While the OHIO team did not advance in the competition, the viability of their concept sparked ideas for continuing research. Additionally, the students were able to compete as an interdisciplinary team of four students, who had never met before the week-long competition.

    “Personally, I have big dreams and this project is all about dreaming big in a realistic manner. Our final product helped give me a boost of confidence that I can work well in a group of people I’ve never met and in a field I do not have a lot of background knowledge on. This also reassures me that seemingly unrealistic things can happen,” said mechanical engineering major Variny. 

    The faculty advisory team, including Khoury and Wilhelm, saw potential in the business plan as well.

    “I really enjoyed the enthusiasm and innovation the students brought to this challenge. They were able, in a very short amount of time, to bring together various thoughts and ideas and articulate them in a very meaningful and well-reasoned presentation,” Khoury said.

    The conclusion of this competition points to the present need of advanced air mobility and the practicality of its implementation. As OHIO students continue to research use cases for this technology, the future of advanced air mobility will continue to expand.

    According to Miller, the advanced air mobility industry “has to get students interested in jobs that do not exist right now” to meet the employment needs caused by the rapid growth of this new branch of the aviation industry. Students who invest their time will experience this cutting-edge, innovative and ever-growing industry firsthand. 

    As Dowalter, Parrell, Bateman, and Variny continue their education at Ohio University, they will continue to reflect on the impact of this experience with hopes that one day their idea will take to the skies.

    “Although we did not get the desired outcome, this was an incredible experience. I highly recommend students going after this challenge next year,” Parrell said “I got to use critical thinking skills and apply knowledge that I have learned. Our idea was impactful, and we put a lot of work into this. Although it was a lot of work, this project was a great experience.”

    Original article: OHIO team competes in statewide FlyOhio Vertiport Challenge

  • Ohio University is launching a new residential scholars program focused on high-promise students’ academic success and overall well-being. The 1804 Scholars Program will offer participants a rich blend of peer, faculty, and campus engagement with a holistic emphasis on their personal and professional development.

    Students selected for the 1804 Scholars Program, available starting in Fall 2022, will live together in an honors and scholars residence hall and work closely with faculty members, residence hall staff, and peer mentors. In addition to academic enrichment and support, the program will help students build community and connections that foster physical, mental, and emotional health.

    “OHIO has a long tradition of innovative honors and scholars education. The addition of the 1804 Scholars Program enables us to create a residential community that blends academic enrichment opportunities with a focus on wellbeing,” Ohio University Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs said. “Helping students to develop a community that values both high academic achievement and personal well-being is critical to their lifelong success.”

    The program will offer one-on-one sessions with a well-being coach, in-hall office hours with mental health professionals, and coordinated outings to campus recreation and wellness activities, as well as athletic events, exhibits and performances. Within the residence hall, facilitated quiet study hours will be offered along with social events like game nights and movie screenings.

    Academic enrichment opportunities will include coordinated outings to campus and community events, roundtable discussions featuring faculty and other local experts, skill-building workshops, and access to existing honors extracurricular programming. Scholars also will have access to OHIO Honors Program classes where space is available and walk-in sessions each semester with advisors trained to help students identify and engage in meaningful out-of-class learning opportunities.

    “Ohio University has seen extraordinary growth in attracting high-achieving students across all disciplines,” Honors Tutorial College Dean Donal Skinner said. “The 1804 Scholars Program aligns with its goal of helping students reach their fullest potential, enhancing existing opportunities, and developing new ways to increase retention, graduation and overall student success. We are excited to welcome the 1804 Scholars into the honors and scholars family.”

    After their first year, 1804 Scholars will have the opportunity to serve in leadership roles in the program. They may serve as peer mentors or train to become a peer well-being coach. Third- and fourth-year students remain engaged in the program by participating in the program’s enrichment opportunities, taking honors courses when available, and serving in leadership roles.

    In partnership with the Honors Tutorial College, Undergraduate Admissions will contact eligible fall 2022 applicants after admission with information about how to apply for consideration for 1804 Scholars, the OHIO Honors Program, and other University honors and scholars experiences.

    Original article: Ohio University launches new residential scholars program to complement strong honors offerings

  • Ohio University has been awarded the 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine for the fourth consecutive year.

    Presented to U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, the HEED Award recognizes OHIO’s ongoing initiatives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity across all campuses. OHIO and 100 other recipients will be featured in the November 2021 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

    “It is an honor for Ohio University to be recognized for the fourth year in a row by INSIGHT Into Diversity for our efforts and commitment to embracing diversity and creating inclusive spaces for all of the OHIO community,” Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Gigi Secuban said. “We know that the work of creating a diverse and inclusive community is way more than a set of boxes to check and we are fully dedicated to continuing this work through educational programs and strategic initiatives that seek to ensure that all Bobcats feel welcomed and empowered here at OHIO.”

    OHIO’s HEED Award recognition coincides with a pivotal time for the University. During a time of change, OHIO is refocusing on core strategic priorities that ensure access, inclusion, and success. In support of campus-wide inclusive excellence, OHIO continuously implements and deploys multi-faceted strategies related to recruitment, retention, student leadership development, academic success, inclusive pedagogy, diverse faculty mentoring, and proactive campus-wide diversity and inclusion education as part of its Inclusive Excellence Strategic Plan.

    “It is an honor to be recognized for our commitment to diversity and inclusion for the fourth year in a row,” Ohio University President Hugh Sherman said. “We will continue to provide opportunities and initiatives that advance diversity, equity, and inclusivity throughout the entire OHIO community.”

    There are several different initiatives on campus designed to help students know they have a place of support, and to highlight the voices of people from various backgrounds, including gender, race, LGBTQ+ identity, and religious and spiritual beliefs, along with others. Some programs include the Diversity Leadership Ambassador Program, Women Leading OHIO, and the Diverse Junior Faculty Mentoring Program, which provide spaces for different constituencies, including students, staff, and faculty, to feel empowered by personal experiences and professional mentorship opportunities.

    OHIO also hosts many events that support diversity and inclusion efforts on campus. One of these is the annual week-long Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration that honors the life of Dr. King through multiple events focusing on racial justice, equality, and educational achievement. This year’s celebration included a drive-in brunch, highlighted as an innovative program by Insights into Diversity, silent march, keynote addresses, and a trivia night.

    The University also hosted events for Women’s History Month in March, including an art challenge, a fireside chat with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, the Celebrate Women Conference, and other events to celebrate the many contributions of women. During Black History Month in February, OHIO also hosted a variety of events with the featured event being “A Conversation with Donna Brazile,” an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist, television political commentator, and vice chair of voter registration and participation and former acting chair at the Democratic National Committee.

    With pedagogical initiatives such as the Inclusive Pedagogy Academy (IPA), the Division works with partners across campus to promote inclusive teaching and learning, whether it is remote, hybrid or in-person instruction. This year, IPA assisted and aided in several OHIO members receiving the Ohio College Teaching Consortium Inclusive Teaching Endorsement by hosting a qualifying panel where OHIO faculty discussed how they navigated the realities of the important and challenging work of inclusive pedagogy into teaching.

    In June of 2021, Ohio University recognized Juneteenth as an official University holiday and hosted the inaugural Juneteenth Celebration with a variety of community events. And earlier this year, the Division launched the Make Respect Visible campaign that provides the University community with expectations for engaging across differences.

    To learn more about OHIO’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, visit www.ohio.edu/diversity.

    Original article: Ohio University awarded Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for fourth consecutive year

  • Ohio University has welcomed Bobcats back to campus for the 2021-2022 academic year with a new and improved student success services model to ensure that all students can reach their potential and their individual academic goals.

    Part of this update centers around the creation of The ACE, a new office that brings together Allen Advising, the Career Achievement Network, and the Experiential Learning Hub as part of the OHIO Guarantee+.

    Under the leadership of Associate Vice Provost Dr. Jen Murphy, The ACE will provide cohesive student support by aligning resources in academic advising, career achievement, and experiential learning. Murphy is hosting information sessions about The ACE throughout September.

    “We have brought together the critical resources to ensure that our students can reach their potential, guided by graduation plans that they will navigate with help from their advisors,” Murphy said.

    Each academic college within the University will support students with their Guarantee+ Graduation Plans through a combined professional advising and career coaching model unique to each college.

    As The ACE centers and elevates student success by bringing together advising, career achievement, and experiential learning, OHIO continues to support the success of all OHIO students with critical services including academic assistance, community engagement, and accessibility services provided through University College.

    OHIO students can access academic assistance, in the form of academic coaching, peer tutoring, supplemental instruction, and writing support, via the Academic Achievement Center (AAC), located on the second floor of Alden Library. Academic assistance will continue to be offered remotely through fall semester. Students with disabilities, who may need to receive accommodations at OHIO, will find support from Student Accessibility Services (SAS), which is now co-located with the Academic Achievement Center on Alden Library’s second floor. AAC and SAS staff help students achieve their academic goals and overcome academic challenges.

    Students will find opportunities to engage on campus and in the community through the Center for Campus and Community Engagement, housed in the Carriage House  at 29 Park Place. The CCCE connects students to volunteer opportunities, community-based internships, community work-study jobs and more.

    “Our professional and student staff are prepared to help provide students with the customized support they need at each stage in their academic journey at OHIO,” said Interim Dean of University College Dr. Carey Busch.

    Original article: Ohio University updates student success services model

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