University of Vermont

University Communications

UVM Celebrates First Public Health Certificate Program Graduate Chelsea Carman

(From left) UVM Interim Dean of the Graduate College Cynthia Forehand, Ph.D., Public Health Certificate graduate Chelsea Carman, Jan K. Carney, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean of public health and faculty director of the certificate program, and Cynthia Belliveau, Ed.D., Dean, Continuing and Distance Education, gather in the Health Science Research Facility on November 21, 2013. (Photo by Raj Chawla)

Just shy of one year ago, the Northeast Association of Schools and Colleges, a regional accrediting association, approved the University of Vermont’s first online graduate program, the Certificate of Graduate Study in Public Health. Launching this 18-credit, online certificate program in January 2013 was the culmination of a collaboration among UVM Continuing and Distance Education, the Graduate College and the College of Medicine. On November 21, 2013, the program celebrated yet another major milestone: its first graduate – Chelsea Carman.

A 2009 UVM alumna who majored in biology, Carman works as a laboratory technician with David Krag, M.D., S.D. Ireland Professor of Surgery at the UVM College of Medicine and a surgical oncologist at Fletcher Allen Health Care. The current Burlington, Vt. resident and Feura Bush, N.Y., native continued taking courses as a UVM employee and says an “Emerging Infectious Diseases” class at UVM piqued her interest in public health. Soon after, she enrolled in a “Public Health and Health Policy” class and once UVM launched the Certificate of Graduate Study in Public Health, she was able to apply that class and others to earning the certificate.

The graduation celebration, which was attended by Carman’s family and friends, as well as members of Continuing and Distance Education, the Graduate College, and College of Medicine, was held in the Hoehl Gallery in the College of Medicine’s Health Science Research Facility. Graduate College Interim Dean Cynthia Forehand, Ph.D., provided opening remarks, recounting the steps taken by Jan K. Carney, M.D., M.P.H., associate dean of public health at the College of Medicine and faculty director of the certificate program, herself, and Continuing and Distance Education Dean Cynthia Belliveau, Ed.D., to bring the program to fruition. Open to anyone with a bachelor’s degree, the program is designed for medical and graduate students, health practitioners, researchers, and students interested in advanced study in the field.

“Overall, I have had a great experience with the public health classes in the certificate program,” says Carman. “The classes cover a variety of topics and even though they are online courses, the professors are very engaged and the online discussions have been interesting, because the students represent a variety of academic backgrounds, leading to a lot of different opinions.”

She looks forward to completing UVM’s pending Master of Public Health degree, and is interested in one day pursuing an advanced degree in epidemiology.  

“Knowledge is power,” said Carney at the graduation celebration. If more people learn how health systems work, how policy can shape healthy behavior, and how to develop initiatives that impact entire populations, “we will have a healthier society,” she added.

UVM’s Certificate of Graduate Study in Public Health program provides a foundation in population health sciences, including epidemiology, biostatistics, and environmental health. It also includes interdisciplinary and public policy-focused coursework. Students take five required courses and one elective. They also benefit from individualized advising. Faculty from the College of Medicine, the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and the Vermont Department of Health, including experts trained at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), teach courses in the program. Learn more about the program here.