DETROIT – Wayne State University has partnered with regional health departments for the Local Public Health Scholars Program, awarding three $10,000 workforce development scholarships to one employee at each agency.
Scholars Jodie Sarsfield of the Macomb County Department of Health, Daniel Sweeney of the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness, and Micia Eddins of the Detroit Health Department entered their first year of the Wayne State University School of Medicine’s Master of Public Health degree program in September. Eddins earned her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from WSU in 2010.
The scholars program launched with Wayne County as its initial charter partner in 2015. Wayne County employee Theresa Brestovansky won the program’s first scholarship that year, and is now a second-year scholar. The inclusion of three additional scholars represents a regional expansion in the partnership to enhance public health practice.
“This is a continuing commitment from our program and the university to contribute to, and enhance, the public health workforce in southeastern Michigan. These scholars also bring practical expertise to our graduate students, improving education across the program,” said Master of Public Health Program Director Kimberly Campbell-Voytal, Ph.D., M.S.N., an assistant professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences. “We consider the academic needs and interests of our public health partners to be an important consideration in the growth and development of the M.P.H. degree.”
In collaboration with the WSU School of Medicine, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences also introduced an undergraduate degree in Public Health this fall, showcasing the university’s institutional commitment to health equity and social justice on multiple levels.
“We are committed to continuing our long tradition of collaboration with health department leaders to enhance the public health workforce. The Public Health Scholars Program stimulates innovation in our curriculum and accelerates learning for all of our students. We look forward to supporting the success of this year’s public health department scholars,” said Tsveti Markova, M.D., professor and chair of the WSU Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences.
The public health partnership also strengthens the participating agencies’ ability to retain their best employees and build their workforce for the future.
"The Local Public Health Scholars Program is a fantastic partnership between Wayne State University and local health departments in our region to train and educate future public health leaders who are committed to service and improving the wellness of our communities. The Macomb County Health Department thanks Wayne State University for making the program a reality,” said Macomb County Health Department Director William Ridella.
The scholarship funds are provided by the WSU Graduate School.
“The Graduate School is committed to investing in the development of the workforce in the Detroit area,” said Ambika Mathur, Ph.D., associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. “We are pleased to see the scholarships being used to develop local talent and build partnerships with the community.”
A master of public health degree is the professional degree for individuals interested in pursuing careers in public health and is viewed as necessary for leadership positions with municipal-based health systems.
“There are few more fulfilling opportunities than learning the theory of a discipline while practicing it day to day. Our team has that opportunity because of the Wayne State University Public Health Scholars Program,” said Detroit Health Department Executive Director and Health Officer Abdul El-Sayed, M.D. “We know that the dynamic interplay between learning and doing that our team will experience will make them better, us better, and ultimately translate to better health in our city.”
The program also will contribute continuing education efforts within the health departments, with faculty offering presentations in areas relevant to public health practice.
“This is a great opportunity to tie in theory and practice. The scholars are applying what they learn directly while also contributing to the program by sharing their practices and operational knowledge,” said Mouhanad Hammami, M.D., director of the Wayne County Department of Health, Veterans and Community Wellness.
More than 150 graduate degree and certificate students have graduated from WSU’s MPH program since its inception.
About Wayne State University School of Medicine
Founded in 1868, the Wayne State University School of Medicine educates more than 1,000 medical students in all four classes. In addition to undergraduate medical education, the school offers master’s degree, Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. programs in 14 areas of basic science to about 400 students annually.
Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 380 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students.