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Dr. Terri Rebmann discusses Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness at SLU

This concentration allows students to combine traditional classroom work with online courses as part of the concentration curriculum. Students who graduate with this concentration are well-prepared for professional roles in a wide variety of settings, such as public health departments, federal agencies and in private industry, or for pursuing further graduate education.

Joint Concentration Options
Students can combine two concentrations, allowing them to expand their knowledge in both areas. A joint concentration degree combines the competencies of each concentration. The joint concentration options for Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness are:

Competency-Based Education
Competencies are student outcomes - both knowledge and skills - that are specific to the degree and to the area of study. They reflect the knowledge and skills that we strive to develop in our students and form the basis of our evaluation of each student's achievement. For the MPH, there is a set of core competencies and set of discipline-specific competencies that guide the development of the curriculum. The competency sets are developed with input from current public health practitioners, our alumni, our faculty and our students to reflect current and future needs of the profession.

Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness Concentration Competencies

  • BSDP 1: Analyze qualitative and quantitative data to accurately identify biological and other health hazards and measure risks, using epidemiological, statistical, and risk assessment methods and tools
  • BSDP 2: Use an evidence-based approach to develop and analyze effective human, animal, and environmental hazard control strategies, programs, and policies, taking into account legal and ethical considerations
  • BSDP 3: Explain the scientific characteristics, including transmission routes and control measures, of major biological hazards that result in human and animal health risk
  • BSDP 4: Create and disseminate tailored messages regarding biosecurity hazards and risks to responders, the public, the media, and policy makers
  • BSDP 5: Apply management principles in program, organizational, and community initiatives

Career Opportunities
SLU graduates are employed all over the nation and internationally in a wide variety of settings and positions. Some of the career paths in biosecurity and disaster preparedness include:

  • Disaster Medical Assistance Team Member
  • Crisis Communications Director 
  • Disaster Action Team Leader

Faculty and Research
Our faculty are internationally recognized as leaders in the field of biosecurity and disaster preparedness. Students have the opportunity to work on projects with faculty members. Our faculty have active research in areas such as:

  • Health Care Infection Prevention
  • Technologies for Improving Responsiveness
  • Countering Biological Weapons Terrorism

MPH Practice Experience

Students in the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program are required to complete a practice experience (internship) with an approved community health organization and preceptor. This 320-hour experience is designed to enhance students' educational experiences and promote professional competence in Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness.

Internships in this concentration might involve the following activities: planning, developing, implementing and/or evaluating tools and programs to prepare for and respond to natural and terrorist threats. Examples of organizations that have sponsored internships include: Monsanto, St. Louis City Department of Health, and the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.

Admission Requirements

For the concentration in Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness, applicants should preferably hold a bachelor's degree that includes at least 12 credit hours of college-level coursework in biological, chemical and/or physical sciences plus at least one college-level math course.

MPH-BSDP Curriculum
Students in joint concentrations will have a curriculum that varies from the one below.

MPH Core Curriculum

  • Behavioral Science and Public Health 

  • Principles of Biostatistics

  • Environmental and Occupational Health

  • Principles of Epidemiology

  • Mission and Practice of Global Public Health

  • Ethical Issues in Public Health 

  • Managerial Aspects of Public Health Practice

  • Rounds 

  • Internship/Practice Experience 

  • Special Study for Examinations

Concentration Curriculum

  • Behavioral and Cultural Aspects of Disaster Response

  • Communicable Diseases and Infection Control 

  • Disaster Communications and Media Relations

  • Disaster Management and Risk Analysis

  • Disaster Planning for Infectious Disease Disasters
  • Fundamentals of Disaster Planning

  • Public Health and Disasters

  • Concentration Electives

  • Capstone in Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness

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