Letter from the Program Director

Dear Prospective Students, Partners, and Colleagues,

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to show you how we can help you achieve your global health goals!

The Global and Environmental Public Health (GEPH) Program at the School of Global Public Health is unique among programs in global health because of its focus on building skills to help address complex public health challenges sustainably, scalably, and efficiently, and because of our key partnerships with UN agencies, NGOs, foundations, government ministries, and other stakeholders in global health. All that and we are sitting in the heart of New York City!

Our program emphasizes four connected pillars: applied research; public health practice; innovation/entrepreneurship; and competency development for the global public health workforce. Our classes and resources are almost entirely directed toward growing all 4 of these important areas, leveraging our proximity to the UN and other international development agencies in NYC, and NYU's Global Network, which provide a wealth of opportunities for our students and faculty. Make sure to check out our labs and initiatives also!

Our research program is anchored by a number of leading scholars, including Dr. Yesim Tozan, who is analyzing the cost-effectiveness of a series of interventions against disease agents around the world. In addition, Drs Emmanuel Peprah and Karen Yeates on our faculty are global leaders in implementation science, and our monthly webinar series, which is co-hosted with NYU’s School of Medicine, is introducing the entire NYU community to this growing field. Finally, Dr. Jack Caravanos is studying the health effects of lead and other toxic agents in the Peuvian Amazon, Bolivia, Ghana, Zambia, Indonesia, and a host of other countries. 

With respect to practice, all public health students are required to complete an applied practice experience. We are extremely fortunate in GEPH that Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford is a member of our faculty. In addition to providing global leadership in urban health as president of the International Society for Urban Health (ISUH), Dr. Boufford is also highly interested in making sure that our students get the practice experience that will most help them achieve their purpose in public health. 

In addition, GEPH negotiated an MOU with UNICEF that provides up to 10 extended internships with that agency, and we are in the process of finalizing similar agreements with several other UN agencies and International NGOs. Our goal is to build a wealth of opportunities for students to work in real-life settings alongside public health professionals to address current, pressing public health challenges. GEPH has committed to sponsors that it will front-load the necessary skills to add immediate value during the internships, significantly increasing their usefulness to the sponsor organization and also increasing the odds that the experience will turn into a job for the students. 

GEPH has become a hub at NYU for public health innovation and entrepreneurship, and that spirit permeates all of its activities. The faculty is testing a number of strategies to improve health outcomes in vulnerable populations, including market-driven approaches (via entrepreneurial ventures), radio and music, film and multi-media, and interactive online technology. Carlos Chirinos, an Associated Faculty member at GEPH, is a global pioneer in this area and we are very fortunate to be working with him. Our approach is structured and disciplined in order to efficiently match the strategies with community needs and willingness to adopt those innovations.

Finally, our educational strategy is to fill a range of critical competency gaps among students and also working professionals at UN agencies and in government ministries. Our courses are consequently highly applied and experiential and they are designed to build key skills, including:

  • Data comprehension and utilization;
  • Investment planning through data-driven decision-making;
  • Program budgeting and design;
  • Program monitoring and management; and
  • Program evaluation.

We have also pioneered a series of innovative, unique courses with UN partners like UNICEF and the World Food Programme that bring our students together with field professionals and government officials to address current, pressing regional public health challenges. In 2015, we created a course entitled “A Systems Approach to Food Access” in partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) and Anthrologica. The goal of the course was to develop implementable strategies - in the context of other ongoing and available interventions - to reduce population risk and improve nutrition outcomes. To do this, the course brought together professional staff from WFP (primarily Heads of Programme and Country Directors) and graduate students. 

In parallel, in 2015, NYU’s GPH also collaborated with UNICEF for the design of a course entitled “Behavioral Communication Strategies for Global Epidemics,” bringing together graduate students, UNICEF staff and other stakeholders (e.g. partner Governments and the World Health Organization) to elaborate and implement strategies in disease prevention and response outbreak in humanitarian settings. This course integrated three public health disciplines for emergency action: i) epidemiology, ii) behavioral health/intervention research and iii) public health communication. The course was most recently delivered in March, 2019 in Beirut in partnership with UNICEF’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Office and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut (AUB), with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

There is much more to tell you. Drop me a line at chris.dickey@nyu.edu and we can set up a time to talk.

Chris Dickey DrPH MBA

Director of Global Health and Environmental Public Health Sciences
Director, Global Professional Studies and Entrepreneurship
Clinical Associate Professor of Global Public Health
New York University School of Global Public Health
715 Broadway, Room 1201
New York, NY 10003