MPH in Public Health Genetics

The MPH in Human Genetics program integrates genetics and the public health science disciplines of epidemiology, pathobiology, biostatistics, environmental health, and health services research, with ethics, social sciences, public affairs, economics and law. Public health genetics focuses on phenotypic disease prevention in populations, not just individual patients and their families. It addresses society’s legal, ethical, financial, regulatory, and organizational responsibilities in offering genetic services, and devising environmental and occupational interventions to prevent disease in populations.

Upon completion of the MPH in public health genetics, students will meet the following program-specific competencies:

  1. Apply knowledge of inheritance, including basic cellular and molecular mechanisms, and both genetic and non-genetic related risk factors for disease to understanding a variety of rare and common health conditions
  2. Assess and communicate the benefits, risks, and limitations of the integration of genetics and genomics principles and technologies into public health projects and initiative
  3. Identify and assess the ethical, legal and social principles and issues important to public health genetics
  4. Effectively communicate genetic and genomic principles to the general public, public health professionals, and health care providers
  5. Evaluate how genetic principles/technologies apply to precision public health: the targeting of diagnosis, screening, and interventions for disease prevention and health promotion programs
  6. Promote integration of justice, health equity, diversity, and inclusion into genetics, public health genetics, and precision public health programs and initiatives


  • Completion of 47 credits, including a minimum of 37 credits of coursework in human genetics and the core public health disciplines
  • A 200-hour practicum
  • Final MPH essay (involving data analysis)
  • Graduates are required to meet the Human Genetics MPH competencies described above and all MPH Public Health Competencies


Recent graduates hold the following positions:

  • Staff, University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy Program Evaluation and Research Unit, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Project Coordinator, Association of American Cancer Institutes
  • Project Coordinator, Libyan Ministry of Health (Vaccination Program)
  • Research Assistant, All of Us Precision Medicine Initiative, University of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Staff, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspective Service, Washington, D.C.
  • Epidemiologist, West Virginia Health Center
  • Project Manager, Center for Oral Health in Appalachia (COHRA)

Graduates also pursue doctoral study, medical school, or other degrees.

Program Leadership

Andrea L. Durst
Program Director

Andrea Durst is the director of the MPH program in public health genetics. She also serves as associate director of the genetic counseling program. She brings extensive experience in clinical cancer genetic counseling, management, and public health genetics. 


MPH Class of 2023

Gracen Mitrick, Practicum: Genetics Research Assistant at UPMC Children's Hopsital of Pittsburgh

Gracen Mitrick graduated from the College of Charleston with a major in biology with a minor in psychology, researching plant genetics with Arabidopsis thaliana. Here in Pittsburgh she is a student recruitment ambassador and BSPH peer mentor. Her favorite things about the city are its sporting events, festivals and museums. There is always something going on, she's never bored here. Mitrick is from Greenville, SC and can juggle! 

MPH Class of 2024

Swathi Balaji

"Swathi Balaji"Swathi Balaji graduated from Rutgers University, the New Brunswick Campus as a cognitive neuroscience major. She has supported oncology clinical trials as a clinical research professional at Columbia University Medical Center and currently volunteers as a Wish Granter for ill children through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Here in Pittsburgh her favorite thing is the moonlight cruise through the Gateway Clipper. Balaji is from Denville, NJ, and she’s been on the longest zipline in the world in Alaska and fastest zipline in the world in Dubai!

Vivian Duong, Practicum: Clinical and Public Health Research at UPMC Cancer Center

"Vivian Duong"Vivian Duong is originally from Dallas and recently graduated with a BS in neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas with a concentration in medical neuroscience. For her practicum, she supports clinical and public health research at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, where she is currently studying the roles of psychological and physiological factors of persistent pain in breast cancer survivor patients after breast cancer surgery. She aspires to use her graduate degree as well as her certificate in Health Equity to increase awareness for health disparities and promote cultural competence in healthcare and public health. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, singing, dancing, and painting!

Autumn Bryant

"Autumn Bryant"Autumn Bryant graduated from Ohio State University with a major in molecular genetics and a minor in medical laboratory science. She’s volunteered with the Crisis Text Line and worked as a genetic counseling assistant. Autumn is from Woodridge, IL, and she’s visited 14 national parks!





Caroline Wallendal

"Caroline Wallendal"Caroline Wallendal graduated from the University of Pittsburgh as a double biological sciences and history & philosophy of science major. She’s worked in Alcorn Lab at UPMC Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh, interned at Aruvant, and volunteered for the Crisis Text Line. She likes exploring the different neighborhoods of Pittsburgh to try new restaurants and coffee shops. Wallendal is from Flemington, NJ, and is interested in working in pediatrics to improve outcomes for children with genetic conditions and give back to the community that helped her.