PharmD/MPH

Program Description

Mercer University's College of Health Professions (CHP) is pleased to present the Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Public Health (PharmD/MPH) combined degree program. For qualified students in the College of Pharmacy (COP), Mercer University provides an opportunity to pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree concurrently with the Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree. The PharmD degree is earned through the COP and the MPH degree is earned through the CHP.

The MPH degree program is designed to develop students into competent, passionate professionals ready to address the complex and dynamic challenges of public health in neighborhoods and populations in the U.S. and world. The MPH degree will complement the PharmD degree in a manner that will broaden the occupational and professional opportunities of the prospective graduate in community, industry, or institutional practice. The program has been carefully developed to permit concurrent pursuit of both the PharmD and the MPH curricula.

Program Outcomes

The outcomes for the PharmD and MPH programs will remain unchanged, as the student will complete both programs, with only minor adaptations.   

  • The Pharm.D. graduate of the Mercer University College of Pharmacy will be able to:
  • Provide effective patient-centered care in multidisciplinary settings to a culturally diverse population.
  • Demonstrate foundational knowledge in biomedical, pharmaceutical, social, behavioral, administrative and clinical sciences.
  • Provide medication therapy management for optimal outcomes and to ensure patient safety.
  • Evaluate biomedical literature to make evidence based clinical decisions and recommendations.
  • Solve problems and think critically.
  • Effectively counsel patients while addressing health literacy. 
  • Educate the public and health care professionals.
  • Contribute to the elimination of health disparities to benefit individual patients and society.
  • Effectively manage human, financial, material and informational resources.
  • Adhere to laws and guidelines regulating the practice of pharmacy.
  • Adhere to professional and ethical standards of conduct.
  • Actively participate in professional organizations and advance the profession of pharmacy and its contributions to society.
  • Proactively address changes in the health care delivery system.
  • Pursue life-long professional development.

The program objectives for the MPH programs revolve around the profession's foundational and generalist track competencies and foundational knowledge.

MPH Foundational Competencies

Evidence-based Approaches to Public Health

1. Apply epidemiological methods to the breadth of settings and situations in public health practices.
2. Select quantitative and qualitative data collection methods appropriate for a given public health context.
3. Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using biostatistics, informatics, computer-based programming and software, as appropriate.
4. Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice.

Public Health and Health Care Systems

5. Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings.
6. Discuss the means by which structural bias, social inequities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and societal levels.

Planning and Management to Promote Health

7. Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities' health.
8. Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs.
9. Design a population-based policy, program, project or intervention.
10. Explain basic principles and tools of budget and resource management.
11. Select methods to evaluate public health programs.

Policy in Public Health

12. Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence.
13. Propose strategies to identify stakeholders and build coalitions and partnerships for influencing public health outcomes.
14. Advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations.
15. Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity.

Leadership

16. Apply principles of leadership, governance and management, which include creating a vision, empowering others, fostering collaboration and guiding decision-making.
17. Apply negotiation and mediation skills to address organizational or community challenges.

Communication

18. Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors.
19. Communicate audience-appropriate public health content, both in writing and through oral presentation.
20. Describe the importance of cultural competence in communicating public health content.

Interprofessional Practice

21. Perform effectively on interprofessional teams.

Systems Thinking

22. Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue.

Generalist Rural and Underserved Populations Track Competencies

23. Considers the role of cultural, geographic, social and behavioral factors in the accessibility, availability, acceptability and delivery of public health services in rural and underserved populations.
24. Responds to diverse needs that are the results of cultural and geographic differences in rural and underserved populations.
25. Explains the dynamic forces that contribute to cultural and geographic diversity in rural and underserved populations.
26. Conducts a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence related to a public health issue, concerns, or intervention in rural and underserved populations.
27. Incorporates ethical standards of practice as the basis of all interactions with organizations, communities, and underserved populations.

MPH Foundational Public Health Knowledge (Learning Objectives)

Profession and Science of Public Health

1. Explain public health history, philosophy and values.
2. Identify the core functions of public health and the 10 Essential Services.
3. Explain the role of quantitative and qualitative methods and sciences in describing and assessing a population's health.
4. List major causes and trends of morbidity and mortality in the US or other community relevant to the school or program.
5. Discuss the science of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in population health, including health promotion, screening, etc.
6. Explain the critical importance of evidence in advancing public health knowledge.

Factors Related to Human Health

7. Explain effects of environmental factors on a population's health.
8. Explain biological and genetic factors that affects a population's health.
9. Explain behavioral and psychological factors that affect a population's health.
10. Explain the social, political and economic determinants of health and how they contribute to population health and health inequities.
11. Explain how globalization affects global burdens of disease.
12. Explain an ecological perspective on the connections among human health, animal health and ecosystem health (e.g., One Health).

Admission Requirements

In order to apply for admission to the MPH Program, a Doctor of Pharmacy student must have completed a bachelor's degree or 120 hours of college credit. At 120 hours of college credit, the Doctor of Pharmacy student is considered to have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in terms of a focused record of study.

Admission requirements for the PharmD follow those outlined on the COP Admissions website.  

Academic Advisement and Progression

Faculty in the College of Pharmacy and College of Health Professions provide academic advisement for students pursuing the PharmD/MPH Program. Students admitted into the PharmD/MPH Program are required to meet with the Chair of the Department of Public Health, or designee, to discuss the program requirements prior to enrollment in their first MPH course.

PharmD/MPH Program students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and maintain good academic standing in the PharmD Program throughout their enrollment in the MPH Program.

Program Requirements

Select MPH Program courses can be used to satisfy up to eight of the professional-level didactic elective hours required for the PharmD Program. This does not preclude students taking professional-level electives in the PharmD Program, and students are encouraged to take advantage of elective courses offered by the College of Pharmacy that will further develop their knowledge and skills in specific areas within the field of pharmacy.

Three of the two credit hour courses of the first professional year in the PharmD Program will satisfy six hours of electives in the MPH Program.

Both PharmD and MPH programs require students to complete service-learning hours as part of each program's curriculum. Service-learning is intended to improve patient care and public health and expand upon the students' existing patient caring and public health skills and knowledge. 

Tuition and Financial Aid

PharmD/MPH students pay tuition for both PharmD and MPH courses. More information about financial aid for the PharmD/MPH Program can be obtained from the Office of Student Financial Planning.