Master of Public Health graduates aspire to improve health through research and community-level interventions

Master of Public Health graduates aspire to improve health through research and community-level interventions

Students in Oakland University's Master of Public Health charter class graduate in May 2015.

As students at Oakland University finish another semester, one particular program will celebrate the immense success of their first graduating class.


The Master of Public Health program (MPH) at Oakland University was created to develop initiatives that make a positive impact in the community. In fall 2013, the School of Health Sciences (SHS) debuted the program to accommodate student demand for graduate education opportunities and employer demand for well-trained and highly skilled public health professionals. Now, members of this inaugural class are preparing for graduation and the next step in their scholarly endeavors.


“These students are exceptional ambassadors for public health,” said Founding Program Director Patricia Wren. “All of our students have mastered essential competencies in program planning and evaluation, community-based participatory research, and study design and implementation. They are poised to enter the workforce and make an immediate impact.” 


Graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge to excel in a variety of public health settings, including international health organizations, federal government agencies, state and local health departments, voluntary and philanthropic organizations, and non-profit organizations.


The first graduating MPH class will don their caps and gowns on Friday, May 1. These students have been successful in their academic career, with several poised to begin their professional work or transition into prestigious programs throughout the nation. 


Curpri Burns is one such student, earning a spot in the Minority Training Program in Cancer Control Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. The summer institute seeks to increase the number of racial and ethnic minority researchers in health and medicine. Participants investigate health disparities, environmental impacts and cancer control with an emphasis on vulnerable and underserved populations. Burns will use this opportunity to prepare for further training at the doctoral level.


Andrew Kurecka and Bradley Reichelt were named among 600 finalists for the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program in Washington, D.C., Chosen from nearly 8,000 applicants, these fellows possess advanced degrees and are committed to public service and administrative roles within the federal government. Kurecka and Reichelt will spend the next two years in the federal public health workforce while also receiving considerable additional training in leadership, public policy, management and finance.


Shiny Abraham was hired as a Program Coordinator by the National Kidney Foundation with funding from the Michigan Department of Community Health. She will be working with community groups in Oakland and Wayne Counties to promote healthy eating and physical activity. Abraham seeks to increase food access, enhance the walking infrastructure and implement improved healthy food guidelines in schools.


The MPH program prepared these graduates to help improve the health of individuals and communities by training them with a skills-based, hands-on approach. Using an innovative teaching model, the program incorporates service-learning opportunities and community-based participatory research throughout the curriculum, partnering with local non-profits, corporations and healthcare agencies. 


“This program has truly provided me with the skills I need to be successful and a clear path to obtain my professional goals,” said Abraham. “My faculty are tremendous mentors and role models and I am grateful for their support. My classmates and I will always be linked as members of this inaugural class. We’re anxious to start this journey.”