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University of Pittsburgh    
2017-2018 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 16, 2024
2017-2018 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 genetics 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
  2. Identify ethical, legal, medical, and/or societal limitations to genetic testing
  3. Identify the role of cultural, social, behavioral, environmental, and genetic actors in development and prevention of genetic-related diseases

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.

All students receiving the certificate must give one presentation at the Human Genetics Journal Club, regardless of whether they register for the journal club course for credit.

Other courses must be approved by the director of graduate studies for the Department of Human Genetics.

Students enrolled in Human Genetics degree programs other than the MPH in Public Health Genetics may receive the certificate, with the stipulation that the certificate curriculum must include at least six credits of coursework that is not part of the coursework for their degree. These six credits will consist of the Public Health Genetics course and at least 3 additional credits of work that is specifically focused on ethics or public health genetics (as opposed to the basic science of genetics), such as a practicum, a biomedical ethics course, or the Clinical Genetics Case Conference course.


Graduates will be able to:

- Demonstrate basic knowledge of the role that genetics plays in the development of disease

- Identify the limits of his/her genetic expertise and make appropriate referrals to those with more genetic expertise

- Identify interactions among genes, environmental factors, and behaviors and their effects on public health

- Evaluate how genetic principles/technologies apply to diagnosis, screening, and interventions for disease prevention and health promotion programs, and how they intersect with other public health disciplines.

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