Master of Science in Population Health Sciences Degree:
Bridging the Gap Between Research and Clinical Practice
What Is Population Health?
Population health is an interdisciplinary field that integrates clinical care and public health practices to prevent, reduce and manage human disease. Population health is particularly interested in the determinants of health outcomes, and why the distribution of health determinants is different between population groups. Population health uses patient-centered approaches to understand the needs of different population groups, with a particular focus on investigating health disparities.
Population health identifies mutually beneficial solutions that work for everyone by bringing diverse stakeholders together under one umbrella to overcome common challenges in health care. This approach improves health and health care in ways that are beneficial for both patients and health care providers.
Benefits of a Degree in Population Health
The changing landscape of health care will require intellectual investments in the future of health. Those interested in acquiring a degree in Population Health from The University of Alabama will benefit from a value-based culture that embraces diversity, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative thinking. The Master of Science in Population Health Sciences degree is designed to suit the educational needs of professionals from diverse backgrounds, including:
- Social and behavioral scientists interested in health outcomes research.
- Providers seeking additional training in the structure and delivery of health care in an evolving system.
- Hospital administrators and office managers looking to expand current roles and responsibilities in clinical settings.
- Anyone in the health care field interested in identifying best practices to adhere to value-based payment systems in an effort to increase reimbursement rates and improve health outcomes.
Attributes of our Program
- Offers flexibility with the majority of our classes offered in-person and online for students who wish to pursue a degree while working.
- Specifically designed to prepare graduates to succeed in a value-based healthcare system.
- Led by diverse faculty with backgrounds in medicine, nursing, public health, psychology, business, exercise, health education, economics and health policy.
- Features a variety of electives to allow tailoring of the program to students’ individual interests.
- Provides hands-on training in classes that range from qualitative research methods to database management.
Benefits of Joining Us
The Department of Community Medicine and Population Health is housed in the College of Community Health Sciences, which is the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine. Other College departments include Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine; Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Sports Medicine; and Surgery. The College has incorporated faculty from UA’s Culverhouse College of Business to expand the depth and breadth of our program. Our faculty are passionate about research, teaching and service, as well as addressing the needs of our patients and the community we serve. The multidisciplinary training and partnerships with various content experts enable us to:
For more information about our program, visit the Graduate Catalog or contact the Academic Program Coordinator Abbie Ray at email@example.com or the Program Director, Dr. Mercedes Morales-Alemán at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Address the needs of our diverse clientele
- Provide service learning for involved parties
- Establish new relationships with communities, clinicians and local partners
- Solidify existing relationships
Population health is an interdisciplinary field and our degree is beneficial for licensed health professionals, systems administrators and others interested in health outcomes research, evidence-based care and health system redesign.
- Academic transcripts from all institutions attended
- Three letters of recommendation
- Curriculum vitae
Statement of Purpose that addresses all of the following items:
- Description of your interest in population health.
- Explanation of how a population health degree fits into your career plans.
- Summarize your specific population health topics of interest and identification of a possible faculty mentor from our department.
- Please note that you do not need to contact a prospective faculty member before admission into the program.
- Describe how your current or future work advances our College’s mission and reflect upon the values of the College that are most important to you and your planned career in population health.
- If applicable, address weaknesses within your academic or professional background and explain how you will apply lessons learned from these challenges to help you succeed in graduate school.
The GRE or MCAT is not required for admission into our program. Please note that for applicants with a GPA below a 3.0, an admission test score is strongly recommended in order to be considered for admission. International applicants will need to demonstrate English proficiency with the TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo or meet other requirements established by the Graduate School.
The in-person program accepts fall admissions only.
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Scholarships and Fellowships
Prospective applicants should direct all questions about funding opportunities to the Academic Program Coordinator Abbie Ray at email@example.com
or the Program Director, Dr. Mercedes Morales-Alemán at firstname.lastname@example.org
Faculty and Staff
Antonio J. Gardner, PhD., MS, MCHES®
Antonio J. Gardner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Medicine and Population Health and Director of Education and Evaluation for Rural Programs. He teaches courses for the Rural Medical Scholars Program, the Rural Community Health Scholars Program, and the Master of Science in Population Health Sciences degree program.
Lilanta Bradley, PhD
Dr. Bradley received a PhD in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia. She received her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia.
Martha Crowther, PhD, MPH
Dr. Crowther’s research interests include aging and racial diversity in urban and rural populations with a focus on eliminating mental and physical health disparities in older adults. Crowther has presented and published extensively, and is the recipient of numerous honors, including the National Role Model Award from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
Pamela Payne-Foster, MD, MPH
Dr. Payne-Foster’s current research areas of interest are in a wide range of racial/ethnic health inequities, but more recently she has focused her work on the study of HIV/AIDS-related stigma in rural African Americans in Alabama, particularly in faith-based settings.
Louanne Friend, PhD, MN, RN
Dr. Friend’s research interests include health promotion using team-based models of health care delivery, team-based identification and management of hypertension, and interprofessional education.
Abbey Gregg, PhD, MPH
Dr. Gregg’s research interests focus on adoption of evidence-based practices and new health care delivery models in safety-net clinics.
Randi Henderson-Mitchell, PhD
Dr. Henderson-Mitchell received her PhD and an MBA from The University of Alabama. She earned a master’s degree in Health Education from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and completed her undergraduate degree at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
John C. Higginbotham, PhD, MPH
Dr. Higginbotham teaches, conducts and oversees the research infrastructure for the College. He works in partnership with all areas of the College to promote scholarship activities among the faculty, fellows, family medicine residents, medical students and others.
Lisle Hites, PhD
Dr. Lisle Hites joined the College of Community Health Sciences as associate professor in the Department of Community Medicine and Population Health. He is also affiliated with the Institute for Rural Health Research, which is operated by the College. Hites’s research interests include burnout in health care workers, chronic disease disparities in rural and underserved communities, and the associated health outcomes and financial impact.
Maryam Jafari Bidgoli, PhD
Dr. Bidgoli was the recipient of the BlueCross BlueShield of Michigan Foundation Doctoral Student Award for her proposal, “Health Shocks and Labor Markets: Cancer in Michigan.” Her professional interests include health economics, health care management and labor economics.
Mercedes M. Morales-Alemán, PhD
Dr. Morales-Alemán’s research focuses on community-based participatory approaches to sexual health promotion among adolescent Latinas in the U.S. South. Her research utilizes mixed-methods approaches (qualitative and quantitative) to examine the multi-level factors that underlie these sexual health disparities among Latinas in the U.S. South.
Lea Yerby, PhD
Dr. Yerby’s research focuses on rural health disparities and health care quality outcomes in Medicaid populations.
Yuhui Yao, PhD
Dr. Yao’s research interests focus on anomaly detection, statistical process monitoring and longitudinal analysis. His research can be applied in many areas including subdivision-based opioid abuse detection and personalized risk management in healthcare.
Abbie Ray is the Academic Program Coordinator for the Population Health Sciences Master of Science program in the Department of Community Medicine and Population Health, College of Community Health Sciences. She assists with managing the program and serves as a member of the Master of Science in Population Health Sciences Program leadership team. Abbie holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a master’s degree in Population Health Sciences from The University of Alabama.