The University of South Carolina’s Department of Public Health has entered into a partnership with private college, Claflin University, for a dual degree program. Students will be given the opportunity to earn both their bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Public Health over a five year period.
They would earn their bachelor’s from Claflin and their master’s from USC. Dr. Saundra Glover of USC and the Department of Public Health says this will be a very competitive program where students will begin taking graduate courses in their fourth year of college, and in some cases, as early as their third year. She says the program aims to draw more minorities to the public health field.
“We’ve been working on this for several years, in partnership with Claflin, through our Center of Excellence in cancer and HIV that is funded the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities and the National Insititute of Health,” she says.
“One of the specific aims of that funding was to increase the number of minorty public health professionals and health service researchers addressing health disparities. So this program will allow us to develop the pool of minorty researchers that we can draw upon.”
Glover says the program begins in 2009 and will likely be a conservative amount of students to ensure its success. “We would says we are going to be very conservative and err on the side of in the teens–probably 15 students in the first year–could be more than that,” says Glover. “But certainly we would want to make sure that we work one-on-one with each student to make sure they are successful in this inaugural program.”
Glover says the program is encouraging and would like to see it become a model for future programs saying, ” we would hope this is a model–that this would be a model that others would begin to replicate–that is would spread beyond the borders of Claflin and the University of South Carolina and others would look at this as an opportunity to build, particularly, the research capacity in minority communities.”