With Name Change, MCLA Adds Bachelor of Science in Public Health and Community Education

NORTH ADAMS — With a name change officially approved by state and college governance, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) former bachelor of science in community health education will now become a bachelor of science in public health and community health education.

“This change better reflects the content of our program, which is already aligned with many other institutions’ public health programs,” said Professor of Biology Justin Golub, who chairs the department.

Assistant Professor of Biology Nicole Porther, who coordinates MCLA’s public health and community health education program, added that “the program prepares students to continue on in public health and community health graduate programs and careers. Students that complete the major are still prepared and eligible to sit for the Community Health Education Certification Exam.”

Students in MCLA’s public health and community health education program acquire the tools to be effective educators and advocates through the study of social theories, biological basis of disease, and analysis and implementation of policies and communications strategies that influence the health status of individuals, communities, states, and the nation. Public health majors go on to attend medical school, earn graduate degrees in epidemiology, and shape health policy at the state and local level. Taking the Community Health Education Certification Exam allows students to go on to careers in community health programming, including work at hospitals, nonprofits, school settings, and in the field of disease prevention.

Porther said the discussion on the name change began in early 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We already teach a lot of the foundational concepts of public health in our classes, and community health is a subsection of public health. The change reflects that we’re offering a comprehensive and holistic program in public health. We had a great foundation; the name needed to reflect that.”