COPHP's Top 10 Program Attributes

Our alumni, students and faculty worked together to create this list of the top 10 attributes of the Master of Public Health in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) program.

1. Social Justice

The COPHP program is for people who care about the community and would like to learn how to organize and affect policy. Social justice is our foundation; it is what unites our students and faculty and is our approach to problem-solving. We incorporate anti-racism throughout the program, not just in a stand-alone course or case. Our alumni mobilize communities and catalyze grass roots public health initiatives to challenge health inequities and make positive changes to systems.

2. Problem-Based Learning

COPHP is founded on the principle that adults learn best through self-discovery, doing, experiencing and thinking via problem-based learning (PBL). COPHP students learn how to find the information they need to solve problems rather than memorize solutions. Our graduates can rapidly synthesize evidence to develop and evaluate public health programs. We also recognize that graduates don’t need to be experts on everything, but rather know how to find and partner with experts in the community.

3. Leadership

Leadership is a core learning objective in COPHP. Our students develop leadership skills through facilitation and working in teams. Students gain project leadership experience through hands-on work in problems and cases. Students build leadership experience in the community through anti-racism work, climate change initiatives and by coordinating program activities like seminars, practicum presentations and graduation ceremonies.

4. Small Groups

Our students learn together in small groups consisting of eight to nine people. These groups mimic workplace teams. Mutual accountability is a core value and learning strategy because this is how problems are solved in the real world. Our graduates know how to design, facilitate and mediate group processes, especially in settings of competing views, to make sound and considered team-based decisions in public health. Most importantly, our alumni know how to draw out diverse perspectives to ensure all voices are heard.

5. Build Trusting Relationships

cophp graduates

We solve problems and overcome challenges by building trusting relationships in our classrooms and with community-based organizations. We have lots of high intimacy moments and routines to build relationships (icebreakers), which graduates have carried into their workplaces and facilitation processes. COPHP students are each other’s best resources.

6. Deep Community Relationships

We have deep community relationships with many types of community groups. Community partners helped us design our PBL cases. During both the first and second year, there is repeated and lengthy engagements in community-based projects. We also have lots of great community-based faculty, many of whom are alumni.

7. Grounded in Science & Evidence-Based Practice

We are grounded in cutting-edge science and evidence-based practice. Our students learn about the realities of health inequity and disparities in the United States and internationally. Our alumni skillfully employ modern public health communications tools and techniques to reach a variety of communities effectively.

8. Develop Strong Interpersonal Skills

COPHP students develop strong interpersonal skills through high-intensity group work. We learn to sit with discomfort and explore our own imperfections. We believe that sharing our own experiences with issues like racism are instructive and are important exercises in developing interpersonal skills.

9. Meaningful, Real-World Change

Our program has produced meaningful, real-world change. Our students have worked on practicums and capstones that have influenced policy development for the whole state. Some topics include gun violence, sick leave, public health impact studies and pedestrians on Rainier Avenue. This program is just as much an apprenticeship as it is a training program. COPHP provides students with real-world work experience, not just classroom experience.

10. Remarkable Graduates

Our remarkable graduates built our reputation for producing quality public health practitioners. Employers know COPHP students and graduates are reliably versatile, analytical, and nimble. They can think systematically to create social equity. Our alumni skillfully and confidently practice systematic problem-solving approaches to resolve complex public health challenges. Our graduates also remain deeply engaged in public health throughout their careers.