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Program Distinctives

The UNC Asheville/UNC Gillings Joint Program of Public Health will be an innovative and highly collaborative Master of Public Health program that leads the way in advancing health equity in rural communities.

The UNC Health Sciences at MAHEC campus in Asheville, where our program will be housed, will focus on advancing health equity in rural communities as a pilot program for Gillings One MPH – a single, integrated Master of Public Health curriculum that spans public health disciplines.

Our MPH program will offer many distinctive features including:

High-Impact Learning Opportunities: Small cohorts, team-based learning, cross-disciplinary instruction, and real-world program development.

Rural and Underserved Focus: Students will work with under-resourced populations and community partners from day one. This approach enables students to make a positive impact in these communities while developing the skills necessary to become public health leaders in rural and underserved areas anywhere in the world.

Experiential Case-Based Curriculum: Classes will be taught through real-world cases, focused on current community issues, and led by an interdisciplinary team. The extended community-based curriculum will provide opportunities for student teams to develop and evaluate public health interventions in rural communities.

21-Month Degree Program: Flexible schedule with one day of classroom instruction per week, designed for adult learners and working professionals.

Real-World Impact: The curriculum also features an 18-month community immersion project where students will apply what they’ve learned to create solutions for public health challenges affecting Western North Carolina.

Community Leadership Skill Development

Students will acquire mastery in

  • Data analytics
  • Community assessment
  • Strategic human-centered program design
  • Financial development
  • Program implementation and impact analysis
  • Coalition building and stakeholder development
  • Policy advocacy
  • Public health education
  • Community-based participatory research


Proposed Program Timeline*

Fall 2017/Winter 2018

  • Community stakeholders assessment
  • Curriculum development
  • MPH student recruitment

April 2018

  • Students accepted for MPH program

September 2018

  • MPH program classes begin

*The Joint Program of Public Health is currently in the process of securing UNC General Administration Approval.