Department of Public Health
Our mission is to prepare highly competent public health practitioners through instruction, research, and service, and to enhance the health status and quality of life of diverse populations in local, state, national, and global communities.
The public health programs at Western Kentucky University prepare students to face the challenges of existing and emerging health concerns, locally and globally, and enable students to apply critical thinking skills to address and resolve these complex health issues. Public health is a field that offers a wide array of job opportunities to suit a variety of interests and skills. Whether you are interested in managing data and crunching numbers, conducting research or working with people, there is a place for you in this field. Public health is ideal for individuals who gain satisfaction knowing that they are working to improve the lives of others.
At WKU, students learn from expert faculty. All public health faculty hold top academic credentials and professional qualifications in public health and related disciplines. We also recognize there is much we can learn from those who are health practitioners. By combining industry knowledge with academic credentials, students learn firsthand from practicing public health experts, attorneys, environmental health specialists, emergency managers, and healthcare administrators with many years of experience in public health, environmental health, and the healthcare industry.
We offer undergraduate and graduate programs to meet the needs of today's job market: Bachelor of Science degrees, Master of Science degrees, undergraduate minors, and certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Our academic offerings focus on the following areas:
- Environmental and Occupational Health Science
- Health Care Administration
- Health Information Management
- Health Sciences
- Public Health
Find Your Program
in the Department of Public Health
The major in health information management is designed to prepare the graduate HIM professional with skills and competencies in health data management, data analytics and informatics, information governance, privacy and security, compliance, clinical documentation improvement, revenue cycle management, medical coding, health information technology management and administrative and clinical work flow.
The undergraduate degree program in health care administration prepares the student for administrative positions in various types of health care facilities and agencies, such as acute care, long term care, group medical practices, managed care organizations, health insurance agencies, public health agencies, clinics, and health related organizations such as manufacturing, marketing and consulting.
The minor in health care administration requires a minimum of 23 semester hours. This minor is compatible with various majors such as business, social and behavioral sciences, allied health, nursing, communication, journalism, public health, and etc.
The minor in health education requires a minimum of 23 semester hours. This minor provides a basic foundation for students desiring preparation in health promotion and disease prevention. The minor in health education may be used in combination with many majors to enhance student’s career opportunities and as preparation for graduate study in a variety of health disciplines. Completion of the minor along with a teaching certifiable major leads to certification in health education.
This is a 21 credit hour program that equips students with public health protection skills for program design implementation and the evaluation of policies and practices to assist in preventing or deducting environmental hazards on individuals and communities
This 21 credit hour certificate program is designe to improve students' skills in program design, implementation and evaluation in diverse settings.
The certificate in Health Informatics is multidisciplinary and is designed to prepare health profession students with the introductory skills and knowledge needed for electronic health records usability, interoperability and data exchange, meeting meaningful use initiatives, improving clinical workflow, and analyzing data to improve overall health care delivery and outcomes through the use of health information technology. Courses for the certificate may also meet the requirements for other degree programs. This certificate may be completed with 19-22 credit hours
This certificate program is expected to address three areas of need in Long Term Care (LTC) administration and WKU mission, namely market demand and industry expectations, program restructuring, and growth in the global market.
When combined with the Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration undergraduate degree and NAB Accredited HCA with LTCA Internship Guidelines, students graduate from a NAB Academic Accreditation Program, one of less than 15 in the United States!
The online Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health is ideal for individuals who are looking to enter the field and would like to further their education or advance their career. This certificate will prepare you for this growing area of employment in as little as nine months.
This 18 credit hour certificate program is designed to provide core public health concepts and skills to students and professionals in the public health field and other health-related areas. This program will also increase students’ knowledge and skills in public health competencies.
The certificate program in Worksite Health Promotion requires 18 semester hours and is designed to provide training for students and professionals who have an interest in developing worksite health promotion programs in the private sector. This certificate program will provide a comprehensive skill base for assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation of health promotion programs in a worksite environment.
This program prepares graduates for administrative and managerial positions in different types of health care facilities and agencies including: acute care, long-term care, group medical practices, managed care organizations, public health agencies, clinics, and health related organizations such as pharmaceutical firms, medical equipment firms, and consulting firms.
This degree prepares students for a wide range of health professions. The 42 credit-hour program, accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), is offered on WKU’s campus and in a fully online format. Beyond the required core courses, MPH students work in partnership with their advisor to select electives and tailor a program that meets their professional and academic goals related to public health. The MPH program is competency-based and focuses on applied and integrative learning. Students are required to successfully complete and defend a capstone project, which could include a thesis, prior to graduation.
The certificate program in Environmental Health and Safety is designed to provide advanced professional training for careers focused on the protection of human and ecosystem health from hazards in the built and natural environments.
This certificacte programs studies the disstribution and determinants of health-related states or events in specified populations, and the application of this study to the control of health problems.
This certificate program is designed to prepare students with knowledge in global engagement in health administration, health policy, health systems, and service delivery.
This certificate program imparts the knowledge and skills necessary for health educators, and is aligned with the seven areas of responsibility outlined by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing for Certified Health Education Specialists.
”The Department of Public Health staff prepares their students intricately to make a difference in their communities. The partnerships that the Department of Public Health has built within our community have led me to where I am today. If it were not for Dr. Lartey and her advice, I would not have had the opportunity to secure a job at my internship site prior to graduation.”