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The first three Public Health graduates ready

New graduates from the Department of Public Health will identify causes, solutions and preventative measures in the interaction between public health and healthcare systems.

2015.06.26 | Kirsten Olesen

The first three graduates of the Master's degree programme in Public Health from Aarhus University are (from the left): Niels Gadegaard, Louise Lindholdt and Ulrik Martensen. Photo: Anders Trærup, AU.

The first graduates in Public Health Science from Aarhus University have now passed their exams – and received their diplomas and official handshakes at the Department of Public Health’s graduation ceremony on 25 June.

"Only having three graduates the first time round may not sound like much. But this has to do with the fact that more and more students have chosen to take a semester focused exclusively on a 20 ECTS internship, so they then have to earn the final 10 ECTS in the course of the next year," says Director of Studies Mette Vinther Skriver from the Department of Public Health.

The degree programme, which has been designed in cooperation with the Department of Political Science, has an optional integrated internship, which the first three graduates have spent at the following three locations: The Centre for Quality and Development, Marselisborg Centre, Central Denmark Region; The Danish Institute for Quality and Accreditation in Healthcare (IKAS); and Quality and Data, Central Denmark Region.

A further three students from the first class of the Master's degree programme have already begun a PhD programme under the 4+4 scheme. They are expected to complete the degree programme during the course of 2016.

Especially strong when it comes to methodology

The degree programme intends to produce graduates who can, in the words of Mette Vinther Skriver, "form a loop" around the three elements of public health by: identifying the reasons for health issues in the population (e.g. obesity among schoolchildren); health-promotion planning and involvement of the relevant professional groups; and evaluating the results of initiatives. In other words, the new graduates are ready to identify the scale of the issue and target groups, to point out solutions and their significance for society, including socioeconomic factors, and finally to look at how healthcare systems can be improved.

"We see our graduates as being particularly strong in the scientific methodologies – that is, the ability to identify and evaluate. They should also be able to guarantee that any preventive measures also work and are based on scientific evidence," says Mette Vinther Skriver.

This is the first time the department has produced graduates of the Master's degree programme in Public Health, which means AU also enters a field that has been dominated for several years by the University of Copenhagen and the University of Southern Denmark:

"The first graduates are the culmination of a long and intensive strategic process to ensure that Aarhus University can do its part to strengthen the opportunities that the municipalities and the other actors in the healthcare sector have for ensuring the correct and most cost-effective initiatives in the healthcare sector – and for evaluating them on a high professional level. I am really proud of that," says Head of School Søren Kjærgaard from the Department of Public Health.

Two of the three first graduates have already been employed – one at Moderniseringssekretariatet, Region Hovedstaden, the other at Marselisborgcentret, Forskning og Udvikling.

Education, All groups, Department of Public Health, Health