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:
- 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.
- Identify interactions among genes, environmental factors, and behaviors, and their effects on public health.
- Assess the ethics of the application of genetic technologies to public health.
- Communicate genetic and genomic principles to the general public as part of current public health initiatives.
- Evaluate how genetic principles/technologies apply to diagnosis, screening, and interventions for disease prevention and health promotion programs.
- 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.
Andrea L. Durst
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 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 zilpline in the world in Dubai!
- Vivian Duong, Practicum: Clinical and Public Health Research at UPMC Cancer Center
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 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 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 Children’s 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.