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UVM on track for Vermont’s first accredited public health program

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 11:14 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The accreditation for an undergraduate public health program started before the COVID-19 pandemic, but faculty and students say this couldn’t be coming at a better time.

“It’s really difficult to say how perfect it was to be a public health student while covid hit,” said Kyra Wood, a graduate of UVM’s College of Nursing and Health Science. “I think suddenly the importance of public health was really like a light was shown on it.”

Wood went through the program that’s in the process of being accredited.

“It just makes everything a little bit more official so it opens up a lot more opportunities,” she said.

The coursework won’t be changing with this accreditation, but the degree will carry more weight.

“It ensures that we are training students according to a set standard so they’re defined learning objectives, defined skills,” said Deb Hinchey, the program’s director.

She said public health is one of the fastest-growing undergraduate majors in the country. Its importance is also growing more prevalent because of COVID.

“All of those things that people are slowly starting to learn about through COVID, that’s a lot of what we talk about and teach about in our curriculums,” Hinchey explained.

The accreditation will also position students better for internships and job opportunities. Members from the Council on Education for Public Health will visit the campus in February as part of the accreditation process. They should be making their decision by the summer of 2022.

Once the process is complete, UVM will have the only accredited undergraduate public health program in the state.

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