Research is an integral part of our mission as we seek knowledge to improve health. Both the undergraduate and graduate programs in public health are particularly focused on studies which produce results that can be translated to practice. Such work can help answer basic science questions, as well as address some of the most critical problems in our health care system. That engages us with basic scientists, clinicians, and policymakers.
Today, public health includes areas as wide-ranging as epidemiology, chronic disease, mental health, disaster response, refugee health, injury prevention and tobacco control.
Recent research projects here at Marshall University include:
- Identifying ways to control childhood and adult obesity in our region
- Developing breast cancer research tactics within our medical communities
- Traveling to underserved populations to administer free health screenings
- Studying secondhand tobacco smoke levels and exposure
- Promoting technologies that make clean and safe drinking water
- Advocating for policies that protect the global environment and sustainable practices
- Establishing global connections in Tanzania, India and many other countries in regard to preventative health outcomes
Our faculty are comprised of doctorally-trained health professionals with a wide range of research interests. Their expertise in research and practice is not only an asset in teaching, but also in mentoring of student practicum and research experience. One-on-one sessions with faculty provides a key time for students to begin to identify possible matches with faculty research interests.
Students have the option to pursue a thesis option, in contrast with a practicum essay. We note that the number of MPH students pursuing a thesis option has been increasing, in part as research can strengthen one’s academic credentials. Such work is typically undertaken after two semesters, either during the summer, or commencing at the beginning of Second Year. Research imposes substantial commitments including design and planning, data collection and analysis, and thesis preparation – thus student thesis proposals should be filed early in the term prior to one’s projected graduation. Filing deadlines – particularly for the final thesis – make careful planning very important.
Faculty and students enjoy access to a wealth of research resources. Facilities include a new Health Promotion Center in Gullickson Hall which provides exam rooms, a small teaching classroom, some laboratories, and offices. These new facilities are adjacent to our classrooms and offices in Prichard Hall. In addition, we have just completed configuration of new laboratory facilities in the Byrd Biotechnology Science Center, in which we have established a Public Health Research Laboratory, with a wide range of capabilities. This facility is specially configured for processing and biobanking of human clinical samples and biomarker research. The laboratory has capability for work in environmental health studies, as well as offering Level 2 biocontainment safety.