The Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at Keck School of Medicine of USC has been awarded $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Resources and Services Administration grant is dedicated towards training the next generation of the public health workforce through the provision of Master’s in Public Health scholarships. The Department was one of only 29 universities in the nation to receive the grant.
The grant will launch the Trojan Scholars for Advancement in Public Health (TSAPH) program, tailored toward workforce development for students with an interest in careers in local public health departments and community-based organizations. The program serves as a pipeline to connect students with job opportunities through mentorships and workforce development. The grant is dedicated to funding MPH tuition costs over the next three years. Selected recipients will receive full scholarships for the two-year MPH degree program and special consideration will be given to students from disadvantaged background. “We are excited to provide an unprecedented opportunity for students with excellent potential for success in public health to attend USC without the financial burden,” shares Amie Hwang, PhD, MPH, Director of the MPH program and TSAPH.
These students will have an opportunity to receive a top-tier education from vibrant and dynamic faculty. They will be immersed in an exceptional research community where they will develop skillsets that increase employment readiness. These will be guided by mentorship sessions to foster stronger education capacity, enhance workforce skills through training opportunities, and grow public health networks. The program requires additional training in linguistically and culturally sensitive program implementation, DEI, and topics that are relevant to the current status of public health.
To support these activities, the Department has partnered with 12 organizations across Los Angeles to provide field experience where trainees can complete their practicum requirement. Placements with community and government agencies present students with an opportunity to confront and address pertinent health issues through their coursework. “Through these partnerships, graduate students will engage in one-on-one network building opportunities, establishing career pathways during their training,” explains Hwang.
The program is launched on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic that witnessed a strain on local public health departments and fueled an interest in public health professions. As a result, the collective goal of these grant-funded programs set is to expand this essential sector and enhance the skills of practitioners to effectively address persistent community health needs as well as public health emergencies. It also aims to increase the number of qualified experts from varied backgrounds to enhance workforce diversity. Ultimately, the program will contribute to a robust public health workforce, helping to build capacity in cities across the country.
The Trojan Scholars for Advancement in Public Health program was launched in October, 2022 to provide scholarships to graduate students pursuing a Master’s in Public Health. TSAPH is led by Amie Hwang, PhD, MPH, Program Director; Jane Steinberg, PhD, MPH, Practice Director; and Reyna Macias, MPH, Program Manager.