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University of Pittsburgh    
2021-2022 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Apr 20, 2024
2021-2022 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Public Health Genetics Certificate

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Advances in genetics are occurring at a pace that challenges our collective ability to respond to the many social, legal, ethical, and public health policy implications generated by this revolution of knowledge. Consequently, there is a compelling need to prepare future public health professionals in the biology, technology, applications, responsibilities, and issues of genetic information, which will play an increasing role in our understanding of health and disease. All areas of public health can be improved and expanded by examining the role of genetics in public health issues.

The purpose of the Certificate in Public Health Genetics is to provide graduates with a basic grounding in public health genetics that will enable them to function as public health professionals at the cutting edge of this important new area. Students enrolled in this certificate program are trained to incorporate knowledge of how genes, together with the environment and behavior, influence health and apply this insight into their area of practice or research. Students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate basic knowledge of the role that genetics plays in the development of disease.
  2. Identify the limits of his/her genetic expertise.
  3. Identify ethical and medical limitations to genetic testing, including uses that don’t benefit the individual
  4. Identify the role of cultural, social, behavioral, environmental, and genetic actors in the development and prevention of genetic-related diseases

More information regarding the program can be found on the Pitt Public Health website under the Academics tab, Degree Programs, and clicking on the Certificates designation.

Certificate Requirements

The curriculum consists of 15 credits, of which at least 12 must be traditional classroom courses. The remaining three credits can be seminar, project, or practicum work.

In addition, all students receiving the certificate must give a presentation in a public health genetics course.

Other courses may be permitted, but must be pre-approved by the director of the MPH in the Department of Human Genetics.


Graduates will be able to:

(1) Apply knowledge of inheritance, including basic cellular and molecular mechanisms, and risk factors for disease to understanding a variety of rare and common health conditions.

(2) Identify interactions among genes, environmental factors, and behaviors, and their effects on public health.

(3) Assess the ethics of the application of genetic technologies to public health

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