Newswise — LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville is expanding its borders, as the School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS) prepares to offer the Master of Public Health (MPH) in Lahore, Pakistan, beginning this fall.
Pakistan is a developing country of 180 million people with a nearly non-existent public health infrastructure. UofL’s program represents the only opportunity for Pakistanis to obtain a MPH degree from an accredited U.S. institution without leaving the country.
“Public health is population focused, and the international community at-large represents the population,” said Craig Blakely, PhD, MPH, dean, University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences. “Pakistan has faced natural disasters the last few years and continues to struggle with high infant and maternal mortality rates, poor water quality and other environmental exposures. We miss far too many opportunities to favorably impact key aspects of population health.” SPHIS will partner with the NUR Foundation (NUR) and Fatima Memorial System (FMS). NUR is a private philanthropic entity with longstanding support of health-related services and professional training. NUR worked to establish FMS, a nonprofit, non-governmental organization consisting of a 510-bed hospital, College of Medicine, College of Dentistry, College of Nursing, Institute of Allied Health Sciences, the Center for Postgraduate Training and a Center for Health Research. FMS also operates an integrated community development outreach program in seven locations in and around Lahore, Pakistan.
The NUR Foundation will pay all on-the-ground faculty salaries and UofL costs and fees for establishing, managing and operating the program in Lahore. There is potential for other funding sources, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank or private foundations. No Commonwealth of Kentucky funding will be used for this endeavor.
Instruction in Lahore will begin with two MPH concentrations: Biostatistics and Epidemiology. The degree will follow the same progression of courses as in Louisville, requiring completion of 48 credit hours over a two-year period for full-time students. Pakistanis won’t be the only beneficiaries of the satellite degree; UofL’s global presence will lead to teaching, service and research opportunities for Louisville-based faculty and students.
“All of the top 10 schools of public health such as Johns Hopkins University, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, Harvard University, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and Columbia University are focused on major global initiatives. Pakistan provides us with an opportunity to dramatically expand our international platform, and aligns with the strategic directions of the school and university,” Blakely said.
Student and faculty recruitment will be among the first agenda items, as UofL begins the MPH program in Pakistan.