Being nominated by the Dean and the Principal to succeed as the Director of MPH (Master of Public Health) was such a special and honored opportunity. First of all, I would like to thank our former Directors, Professor Huang, Professor Xiao, as well as Professor Chen. The past efforts and commitment of these leaders have laid the foundation of the position; it is surely a challenging task, because not only is it necessary to incorporate new concepts and practices to MPH, but at the same time, it is important to achieve and pass the CEPH accreditation. With profound respect and humility, I will do my best to continue this great mission.
The MPH program was established in October 2007; it is the first Master’s program in Public Health offered in Taiwan. The goal of MPH is to integrate multi-departmental resources in the college, combine theory and practice, and cultivate scientific evidences and sysstematic thinking of public health professionals in today’s pluralistic society and rapidly changing environment. In the initial stage of the program, the three fields provided were Community Health Science, Environmental and Occupational Health, and Health Policy and Management. Since 2010, it expanded to five major fields, including Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Biostatistics, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Health Services Administration, and Environmental Health Sciences. Within its 6th year of establishment, there are nearly 60 graduates. In 2014, there will also be graduates from the field of Biostatistics. More than 100 students are currently enrolled in school, accounting for approximately one-third the number of master students in MPH. In this current environment of economic recession, the trend of low fertility rate, the rapid changes in the healthcare system, as well as the uncertainty of job opportunities, it is expected that MPH of Taiwan will synchronize with the foreign universities, and become the mainstream of Public Health sector in the future.
Indeed, throughout these years, there have been several problems in MPH that are in need of attention and improvement. First, it is the course design: whether or not it is designed with practical considerations to cultivate students’ core competencies. Second, the required number of credits for graduation is quite high in comparison to the MS degree, which will affect the students’ graduation schedule and their desire to enroll in this program. Third, the condition of student admission is not very ideal; while some fields receive few admissions, some fields exceed the expected amount. Fourth, due to the lack of physical space and course design provided for MPH, students have little interactions and sense of belonging in this program. There are not enough professors who specifically teach MPH, and provide related guidance in courses and practicum. Moreover, the schedule of the required courses lack flexibility. Lastly, there is a need for improvement of mechanisms in advance planning and hindsight of the practicum.
After the individual invitations and private visits, several deputy directors gradually took positions. With the operation of conference, a number of program matters including the evaluation of graduation credits, the content and options of practicum hours, the reviews of core competencies, the plans and arrangements of new courses, the solicitation and strengthening of part-time faculty teachers, the interaction with students and teachers from multiple departments, the composition and operations of working and learning teams in MPH, the invitations and arrangements of foreign benchmarking…etc., are all in the process of being promoted and improved.
Although my limited ability and inexperienced with administrative affairs, I will try my best to fill the gaps. I hope to bring some improvement and innovation to MPH program by strengthening the integration of the faculty members, courses, and students of MPH. Integration of these three major components can bring in new thinking and practices, collaborate with MS students, and provide the doctoral program with new thoughts. When there is an opportunity to visit, I hope to receive a variety of opinions and suggestions, so that MPH will grow increasingly and become the highlight of this college.
Director Kuopiao Chung