According to Ronald Gimbel, the public health science's new program will act as a fast-track option for outstanding undergraduate students.

According to Ronald Gimbel, the public health science’s new program will act as a fast-track option for outstanding undergraduate students.
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The Clemson University Department of Public Health Sciences is offering a new graduate program in applied health research and evaluation in the Greenville area that combines quality and convenience for a variety of audiences. The department began offering the M.S. program in January through the University Center of Greenville, and it is the first of its kind in the Upstate.

Clemson designed the non-thesis program to produce highly qualified health care researchers who are capable of collaborating with a wide range of disciplines, including academia, government, non-profit and health service organizations and systems. According to Ronald Gimbel, chair of Clemson’s public health sciences department, it also sets the bar for programs designed to address a nationwide shortage in physicians and other clinicians involved in health research.

“Clemson is doing its part to get future clinicians and others involved in research,” Gimbel said. “The way you do that is getting them involved in research early in their careers before they even reach medical school; this program is an attractive option that more easily allows that to happen.”

Clemson hopes to reach future physicians by being an attractive option for recent undergraduates experiencing a “gap year” before graduate or medical school. The program will also be a fast-track option for outstanding undergraduate students who wish to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree in an accelerated fashion.

However, the program is not limited to these two audiences, as it carries just as much value for research teams already employed in health systems, hospitals, community-based organizations, government and anyone else who evaluates programs, policies and interventions in the non-profit sector.

Gimbel said rising health care costs, limited resources and the need to deliver evidence-based decisions about program impact on population health are major factors driving the demand for researchers. Students who emerge from this program will be equipped with the ability to thoroughly evaluate and objectively analyze health data, treatment outcomes and health care services.

“The program is an accessible option for people in the workforce and students just breaking into it,” Gimbel said. “It provides all the tools they need to conduct research relevant to public and population health while enhancing their ability to assess the effectiveness of programs they will encounter on a constant basis in the health care field. We have outstanding faculty from the department with a wide-range and depth of experience in health care and public health that teach in the program.”

The program has been approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. It requires 30 credit hours (18 hours of core courses and 12 hours of cognate courses) and is available in both 12-month and 24-month formats. Courses include Theories and Determinants of Health, Design and Measurement in Health Research, Qualitative and Mixed Methods, Advanced Epidemiology, Health Policy and Health Economics, to name a few.

Evening classes are conveniently offered, and all courses are delivered at the University Center Greenville. For more information, visit clemson.edu/cbshs/departments/public-health/academics/graduate-programs/ms-applied-health-research-evaluation.