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BMCC Launches Public Health Major

March 15, 2017

“There is a great need for public health professionals, and a need for a more diverse range of health professionals,” says Lesley Rennis, Chair of the BMCC Health Education Department.

Starting Fall 2017, that need will be met through an Associate of Science (A.S.) in Public Health degree offered through the BMCC Health Education Department.

The program will not only prepare graduates for a career in public health, Rennis says, it will address a shortage of associate degree programs in public health, throughout the United States and within CUNY itself.

“Public health professionals can address national issues such as health disparities based on wealth inequality and diminished access to health care,” she says. “In a survey of BMCC students focused on their academic and career goals, we learned that many of our students are interested in careers in public health and want to improve the health of the communities they are part of.”

A widening range of public health careers

Public Health majors at BMCC will examine the public health implications of HIV/AIDS. They will look closely at biostatistics related to public health, the history of public health issues, and more.

“The public health field resonates for our students,” says Rennis. “Minorities are more likely to suffer chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart diseases and cancer — and educating the population in public health is key to eradicating these disparities.” 

Graduates will be on track to enter the Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health program at York College, CUNY. BMCC is also seeking articulation with bachelor’s degree programs in public health at Brooklyn College and other CUNY schools, as well as developing bridges for students in health-focused high schools in the New York City area, to enter BMCC as Public Health majors.

BMCC students considering careers in public health will find career options as varied as being a public health educator in a nonprofit, social service or public school setting, a research scientist, emergency preparedness coordinator, athletic coach and many other roles.

The new Public Health program not only supports a widening range of student goals, it also supports student retention "by engaging more of our students who want to pursue a career in the health education or health care sector," says Erwin Wong, BMCC Dean for Academic Programs and Instruction. "At BMCC they can now choose from an expanded set of degree program options — whether they see themselves providing direct care someday, as in a nursing career, or providing education to a specific community around a specific and critical health issue.”  

The BMCC Public Health program proposal was written by Health Education Professors Yuliya Shneyderman and Hardaye Hansen.

For more information on majoring in Public Health at BMCC, contact the Health Education Department at (212) 220-1453 or stop by Room N798 at 199 Chambers Street.


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  • Starting Fall 2017, BMCC students can major in Public Health
  • The new Associate in Science program is offered through the BMCC Health Education Department
  • Public Health professionals can address national issues such as health disparities and diminished access to health care

share this story »