Message from the Director

Welcome to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Graduate Program in Public Health!

We have an amazing new group of students joining our program. The incoming students represent diverse backgrounds, strengths and interests and will continue to enhance the dynamic atmosphere that is the hallmark of our Program. We warmly welcome our new students and look forward to getting to know them over the coming years!

Our Program has gone through some exciting new developments over the last year. This summer we joined on as a founding member of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). Our involvement in this national organization of CEPH-accredited schools and programs will serve both our students and faculty, while also creating more visibility for our program to prospective students and further our collaborations with partner institutions. Membership in ASSPH also means that we will switching application systems to the centralized application system for Schools of Public Health, SOPHAS.  

After a few years of collaborative research and planning, we are excited to announce that we will be offering a dually registered joint MPH/MSW degree program with Fordham University’s Graduate School. We received approval from NYSED over the summer and are excited to officially launch this program in the fall!

Lastly, we continue to expand our curriculum. Joining our existing six tracks, we have officially rolled out an Epidemiology track and a Health Care Management track. These additions round out what we feel is a comprehensive and interdisciplinary set of specializations in public health education. We are also welcoming this academic year our first set of students in our Advanced Certificate Program in Public Health. This certificate is a 15 credit course of study offering a foundation in public health knowledge.

A few years ago I worked as a public health manager in Sierra Leone. I helped set up an epidemiological surveillance system, supervised a malaria resistance study, and trained underpaid and therefore unmotivated health workers. Contact with patients was not the priority; I was supposed to care for the national health policy and not for specific patients. Like all policies, national health policies are influenced by societal needs, economic capacities and, sometimes nationalistic sentiments. They do not aim to bring rapid relief to a suffering individual, but set conditions for a given society to become “healthier”. Their slow evolution and implementation can often be tiring and frustrating. We all know of countless examples, from the Health Care Bill in the US to the Millennium Development Goals. My vision for everyone in the Graduate Program in Public health at ISMMS is that, as public health practitioners, we will always remember that for a human being in distress it is the here and now. Improving the health of human beings is the essence of public health. Keeping the individual at the center of all our work also means that we can approach overwhelming or unimaginable problems without despair. By focusing on the suffering human being, public health goes beyond mere analysis and implementation of health policies. It offers choices where there were none; it provides a human touch in an inhumane environment; and it may ultimately help reestablish human dignity. I welcome everyone at our program to make this a reality.

Nils Hennig, MD, PhD, MPH
Director, Graduate Program in Public Health
Associate Director, Global Health Center
Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine & Department of Pediatrics
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai