Partnership with WashU creates first public health undergraduate program in Haiti

Université Publique du Nord au Cap-Haitien administration, faculty, and students
Washington University and Université Publique du Nord au Cap-Haitien administration, faculty, and students participated in a public health summer institute in July, 2015.

A partnership between Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) and Université Publique du Nord au Cap-Haitien (UPNCH) in Haiti has led to the creation of a new public health undergraduate degree (license) program.

Although there is a Master of Public Health program in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, this will be the country’s first public health higher education program in the northern department, and the only one available to undergraduates. Faculty will come from UPNCH, Washington University’s Brown School and School of Medicine, as well as the City University of New York (CUNY).

Public health challenges faced in Haiti are largely nonexistent in more affluent countries. Illnesses such as tuberculosis, malaria, chikungunya, typhoid, and dengue fever are common and maternal and child mortality rates are some of the highest in the Caribbean. Less than half of Haitians have access to clean water, and less than a quarter have access to a toilet.

“We wanted to think about a degree program that would allow students to graduate and work as epidemiologists in their local health departments or to work with local NGOs to carry out preventative public health. We think that will have a big impact because right now there’s just not that cadre of workers out there.”

The hope is that this new public health program at UPNCH will assist MSPP and other Haitian government agencies by training a local workforce to respond to local and regional health challenges, countering the “brain drain” and reducing the need for foreign aid and intervention.

Read the full story by the Institute for Public Health:  First Public Health Undergraduate Program Starting in Haiti