“Without the incredibly generous assistance from the HRSA scholarship, the stress of finding a way to pay back loans once I graduated would be overwhelming. Over the last semester, I have been able to complete my coursework without the additional worry of bills waiting for me after graduation. It has helped me focus my attention and energy on getting the most out of earning my degree.”
-Kimberly Stein, University of Bridgeport MPH Graduate
Last September, UB’s School of Public Health was awarded an incredible opportunity. It came in the form of a three-year, $1.5 million grant, which was issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The HRSA grant funds scholarships for the master’s in Public Health (MPH) program with the goal of increasing the number of public health professionals in the state to meet increased workforce demands in healthcare. “I am thrilled for this incredible opportunity for our MPH students,” shared program director Meredith Gaffney. “This HRSA grant will allow us to continue our mission to develop the next generation of public health professionals to advance health equity and promote individual, family, and community health through innovative education, community service, and research.”
Read on to learn how the HRSA Grant is changing the lives of today’s MPH students — all while supporting the future of the public health field.
Public Health — A Growing Priority
In a post-pandemic world, the need for dedicated public health professionals has become a greater priority than ever before. While those outside the sphere of public health have largely put their concerns about COVID 19 on the back burner, those working in the field are unable to do the same; while the emergency may be over, the virus and its aftermath continue.
Navigating the landscape of post-COVID healthcare is just one of the many challenges being tackled by today’s public health professionals. Issues such as obesity, addiction, and healthcare inequity still greatly affect the well-being of our communities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be a significant increase in the demand for community health workers and managers over the next decade.
There’s little denying the appeal of a career in public health. Aside from the variety of professional pathways available in this field, public health professionals enjoy greater job security, a high earning potential, and the incredible opportunity to make a lasting impact in their communities.
The Dilemma Over Degrees
To prepare for a career in Public Health, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in the field. However, to enjoy greater job flexibility and higher earnings, an MPH is the gold standard.
Yet the costs associated with advanced degrees present challenges for many MPH hopefuls. The effects of widespread enrollment drop-off due to tuition rates stretch far beyond the walls of higher learning institutions — in fact, this issue jeopardizes our country’s entire workforce, including that of much-needed support in healthcare. With people earning their degrees and qualifications at lower rates, there will be fewer professionals to meet the needs of a growing population.
At UB, you can choose to tailor your MPH degree to your professional goals. Choose from three unique concentrations: Global Health, Community Health, or Health Policy and Management. To learn more about our MPH concentrations, check out this article.
Two Problems, One Solution
University of Bridgeport has a proven record of helping students overcome barriers to higher education — and that includes costs. Aside from maintaining a flat tuition rate for three years in a row, UB awards grant and scholarship aid to 99% of our students*.
The HRSA Grant has provided UB with another invaluable tool for supporting our students’ pursuit of higher education. The grant will fund scholarships for 120 MPH degree candidates. In the short term, this means 120 students can earn their degrees and achieve a fulfilling career. In the long term, this means the field of Public Health will benefit from the addition of 120 dedicated experts.
*According to 2022-2023 Institutional Profile
Opening Doors for Future Professionals
For recipients such as Kimberly Stein, this scholarship has made a world of difference. “Without the incredibly generous assistance from the HRSA scholarship,” Kimberly shares, “the stress of finding a way to pay back loans once I graduated would be overwhelming. Over the last semester, I have been able to complete my coursework without the additional worry of bills waiting for me after graduation. It has helped me focus my attention and energy on getting the most out of earning my degree.”
In a domino effect, the HRSA Grant is also helping the community that Kimberly will one day serve. “Once I have earned my master’s in public health degree, I plan to continue my career-long work in the community addressing public health concerns,” she explains. “I hope to become a director of a non-profit organization.”
Staying Engaged and Enrolled
Among HRSA Grant recipients, the scholarship has also created a sense of unity. “Funding of this type is generally complemented by a cohort practice within the academic program,” says Kimberly’s fellow grant recipient, Northern Star. “This unites students facing similar obstacles.”
When it comes to student retention, the importance of peer comradery can’t be understated. By fostering a collaborative and supportive community, colleges and universities can help support student retention. In turn, this lends to the long-term success of indispensable fields such as Public Health.
The Hope of the HRSA Grant
Although it’s been nearly a year since news of the grant first broke, University faculty remain excited to see what the future holds for HRSA and UB.
“This incredible support really changes the career paths for our master’s in Public Health students,” UB president Danelle Wilken offered. “In turn, when they step out into the workforce and into their chosen fields, those students will have an impact on communities that are often unsupported and overlooked. The HRSA grants really do represent multiple layers of beneficiaries.”
At University of Bridgeport, we are thrilled to see what the future holds for our MPH students. Learn more about our 100% online master’s in Public Health program, or call 1‑800‑392‑3582.