MPH Competencies

SPH Competencies Health Policy and Management

• Identify the main components and issues of the organization, financing and delivery of health services and public health systems in the US.

• Describe the legal and ethical bases for public health and health services.

• Explain methods of ensuring community health safety and preparedness.

• Discuss the policy process for improving the health status of populations.

• Apply the principles of program planning, development, budgeting, management and evaluation in organizational and community initiatives.

• Apply principles of strategic planning and marketing to public health.

• Apply quality and performance improvement concepts to address organizational performance issues.

• Apply "systems thinking" for resolving organizational problems.

• Communicate health policy and management issues using appropriate channels and technologies.

• Demonstrate leadership skills for building partnerships. 

• Define and discuss how rural status may impact cost, quality and access to healthcare

• Explain unique laws regulations and payment polities that may impact the delivery of healthcare in rural areas.

• Explain how public health service delivery in rural areas differs from that in urban and suburban areas.

• Apply theory and strategy-based communication principles across different settings and audiences.

SPH Cross-Cutting Competencies: Communication and Informatics

• Describe how societal, organizational, and individual factors influence and are influenced by public health communications.

• Discuss the influences of social, organizational and individual factors on the use of information technology by end users.

• Describe how the public health information infrastructure is used to collect, process, maintain, and disseminate data.

• Demonstrate effective written and oral skills for communicating with different audiences in the context of professional public health activities.

• Use informatics methods and resources as strategic tools to promote public health.

• Use information technology to access, evaluate, and interpret public health data.

• Use informatics and communication methods to advocate for community public health programs and policies.

• Collaborate with communication and informatics specialists in the process of design, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs.

• Apply legal and ethical principles to the use of information technology and resources in public health settings.


SPH Cross-Cutting Competencies: Diversity & Culture

• Describe the roles of, history, power, privilege and structural inequality in producing health disparities.

• Explain how professional ethics and practices relate to equity and accountability in diverse community settings.

• Explain why cultural competence alone cannot address health disparity.

• Discuss the importance and characteristics of a sustainable diverse public health workforce.

• Use the basic concepts and skills involved in culturally appropriate community engagement and empowerment with diverse communities.

• Apply the principles of community-based participatory research to improve health in diverse populations.

• Differentiate among availability, acceptability, and accessibility of health care across diverse populations.

• Differentiate between linguistic competence, cultural competency, and health literacy in public health practice.

• Cite examples of situations where consideration of culture-specific needs resulted in a more effective modification or adaptation of a health intervention.

• Develop public health programs and strategies responsive to the diverse cultural values and traditions of the communities being served.


SPH Cross-Cutting Competencies: Leadership

• Describe the attributes of leadership in public health.

• Describe alternative strategies for collaboration and partnership among organizations, focused on public health goals.

• Articulate an achievable mission, set of core values, and vision.

• Engage in dialogue and learning from others to advance public health

• Demonstrate team building, negotiation, and conflict management skills.

• Demonstrate transparency, integrity, and honesty in all actions.

• Use collaborative methods for achieving organizational and community health goals.


SPH Cross-Cutting Competencies: Public Health Biology 

• Specify the role of the immune system in population health.

• Describe how behavior alters human biology.

• Identify the ethical, social and legal issues implied by public health biology.

• Explain the biological and molecular basis of public health.

• Explain the role of biology in the ecological model of population-based

• Explain how genetics and genomics affect disease processes and public health policy and practice.

• Articulate how biological, chemical and physical agents affect human

• Apply biological principles to development and implementation of disease prevention, control, or management programs.

• Apply evidence-based biological and molecular concepts to inform public health laws, policies, and regulations.

• Integrate general biological and molecular concepts into public health.

SPH Cross-Cutting Competencies: Professionalism

• Discuss sentinel events in the history and development of the public health profession and their relevance for practice in the field.

• Apply basic principles of ethical analysis (e.g. the Public Health Code of Ethics, human rights framework, other moral theories) to issues of public health practice and policy.

• Apply evidence-based principles and the scientific knowledge base to critical evaluation and decision-making in public health.

• Apply the core functions of assessment, policy development, and assurance in the analysis of public health problems and their solutions.

• Promote high standards of personal and organizational integrity, compassion, honesty and respect for all people.

• Analyze determinants of health and disease using an ecological framework.

• Analyze the potential impacts of legal and regulatory environments on the conduct of ethical public health research and practice.

• Distinguish between population and individual ethical considerations in relation to the benefits, costs, and burdens of public health programs.

• Embrace a definition of public health that captures the unique characteristics of the field (e.g., population-focused, community-oriented, prevention-motivated and rooted in social justice) and how these contribute to professional practice.

• Appreciate the importance of working collaboratively with diverse communities and constituencies (e.g. researchers, practitioners, agencies and organizations).

• Value commitment to lifelong learning and professional service including active participation in professional organizations.


SPH Cross-Cutting Competencies: Program Planning

• Describe how social, behavioral, environmental, and biological factors contribute to specific individual and community health outcomes.

• Describe the tasks necessary to assure that program implementation occurs as intended.

• Explain how the findings of a program evaluation can be used.

• Explain the contribution of logic models in program development, implementation, and evaluation.

• Differentiate among goals, measurable objectives, related activities, and expected outcomes for a public health program.

• Differentiate the purposes of formative, process, and outcome evaluation.

• Differentiate between qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods in relation to their strengths, limitations, and appropriate uses, and emphases on reliability and validity.

• Prepare a program budget with justification.

• In collaboration with others, prioritize individual, organizational, and community concerns and resources for public health programs.

• Assess evaluation reports in relation to their quality, utility, and impact on public health.

SPH Cross-Cutting Competencies: Systems Thinking

• Identify characteristics of a system.

• Identify unintended consequences produced by changes made to a public health system.

• Provide examples of feedback loops and “stocks and flows” within a public health system.

• Explain how systems (e.g. individuals, social networks, organizations, and communities) may be viewed as systems within systems in the analysis of public health problems.

• Explain how systems models can be tested and validated.

• Explain how the contexts of gender, race, poverty, history, migration, and culture are important in the design of interventions within public health systems.

• Illustrate how changes in public health systems (including input, processes, and output) can be measured.

• Analyze inter-relationships among systems that influence the quality of life of people in their communities.

• Analyze the effects of political, social and economic policies on public health systems at the local, state, national and international levels.

• Analyze the impact of global trends and interdependencies on public health related problems and systems.

• Assess strengths and weaknesses of applying the systems approach to public health problems.

• Apply social justice and human rights principles when addressing community needs.

• Develop strategies to motivate others for collaborative problem solving, decision-making, and evaluation.  

• The School of Public Health has identified core master's in public health competencies for students upon graduation. 


NCHL Competencies

  • The National Center for Health care Leadership has developed competencies required for outstanding healthcare leadership for the future.

  • The NCHL Competency model, along with further information can be found here.