MISSOULA – Monica Difort grew up in Kalispell and graduated from Glacier Excessive College. She attended school in upstate New York as a pre-med main, however she got here to understand “there may be a lot extra to well being care than simply interactions between sufferers and well being care suppliers.”
Impressed by courses that study the intersection of science, expertise and society, she discovered herself attempting to find public well being graduate applications on the East Coast. Think about her shock when she Googled that the most effective applications originated again in her house state on the College of Montana.
It was a program she may take on-line throughout evenings and weekends with out disrupting her present job in Utica, New York. When she reached out to UM, this system’s director, Tony Ward, referred to as her personally.
“He defined all the things to me, and it simply felt like a very good match,” Difort stated. “Everybody was tremendous good, so I made a decision to go for it.”
She jumped right into a program that lately was named the No. 16 finest on-line Grasp of Public Well being Program within the U.S. by EduMed.org. A public well being diploma prepares graduates to work in a wide range of settings, together with public well being departments, hospitals and clinics, nonprofits, worksite wellness applications, human useful resource workplaces and community-based well being businesses.
EduMed.org studied greater than 7,700 accredited colleges to compile its listing. UM was one in all solely 6% of regionally accredited faculties and universities earned a ranked place. The net public well being applications making the listing have been honored for high quality, affordability and dedication to pupil success.
“Latest occasions with the pandemic actually highlighted the significance of public well being,” stated Ward, a professor and chair of UM’s College of Public and Group Well being Sciences. “We’re seeing a major enhance within the variety of public well being and well being care job alternatives. I do know Monica is getting into a rising profession area.”
Incomes a level on-line is a brand new expertise for Difort. She normally begins her day working full time from 8:30 a.m. to five p.m. at her native county well being division. Then within the evenings, she works on her readings and logs into on-line discussions with different college students. She additionally invests time finishing her on-line diploma on weekends.
“With on-line studying, you might want to plan issues out and be sure you are logging in every single day,” Difort stated. “You must be disciplined, however the good thing is you are able to do it by yourself time. It might probably work, even if you’re working or have a household.”
She was shocked by the completely different backgrounds of her fellow college students.
“Individuals are from everywhere,” Difort stated. “There are folks from Alaska, Colorado, Virginia and Alabama … a few of them are fairly rural. And there are such a lot of completely different backgrounds. Some folks have already got MDs, and they’re taking the category. It may be just a little intimidating, however it’s actually cool to study from so many different individuals who have a lot extra expertise, but additionally completely different expertise.
“I can contribute amongst these folks I actually look as much as, and all of us study from each other. So I believe that has been the good half.”
Difort wants to finish yet one more on-line class to complete her diploma, in addition to two capstone tasks.
“I’m actually kicking it down proper now, hoping to graduate in December,” she stated. “I’ve simply been working a lot – working and going to highschool. It’s been robust, however I do know will probably be rewarding ultimately.”
Contact: Tony Ward, professor and chair, UM College of Public and Group Well being Sciences, 406-243-4092, [email protected]; Dave Kuntz, UM director of strategic communications, 406-243-5659, [email protected]