1. Master of Public Health
medical students talking

Message From the Director

With an ever-growing student body, our Graduate Program of Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai draws from a wide diversity of backgrounds, strengths, and interests and enhances the dynamic atmosphere that is the hallmark of our program. I warmly welcome you and look forward to getting to know you over the coming years.

Our program has experienced some exciting new developments in recent years. We have expanded our curriculum and course offerings and recruited new faculty. We have firmly established our eight concentrations rounding out a comprehensive and interdisciplinary set of specializations in public health education.

I want to encourage all students to reach out to the concentrations advisors and course directors early on to seek advice and mentorship. Meet with our faculty, staff, and your peers and become involved in public health research, advocacy, and practice.

When 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, 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 to 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 Affordable Care Act here in the United States, to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals globally.

My vision for everyone in public health is that we always remember that for a human being in distress, what really matters 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 helps us approach overwhelming or unimaginable problems without despairing. By focusing on the suffering human being, public health professionals go beyond mere analysis and implementation of health policies. We offer choices where there were none; we provide a human touch in an inhumane environment; and we may ultimately help reestablish human dignity. I welcome everyone at our program to make this vision a reality.

Our Program is currently in its re-accreditation review cycle by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). Our Program has submitted the final self-study report on April 10, 2024 and CEPH will conduct its site visit May 13-14 2024.

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