Master of Public Health

Welcome from the Director

The Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) Program at Meharry was established in 1974 and graduated its first class of one student in 1978. In 2021, the Meharry Board of Trust approved a degree name change to MPH in Public Health Practice. While the name has changed, our commitment to training diverse public health leaders, practitioners, and researchers has not.


True to the history and legacy of Meharry Medical College, the Public Health program teaches and empowers a diverse population of students to improve the well-being of humankind. The public health program provides training to prepare public health practitioners ready to impact the healthcare system via policy, management and practice.


The Meharry Medical College Public Health program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) and consist of 45 credit-hours of course instruction, which includes an Applied Practice Experience and an Integrative Learning Experience. The core courses consist of 30 required credit hours and 15 electives; students may choose a concentration and select their electives accordingly. There are a variety of courses from which to choose to fulfill the course requirements for the public health degree.


To date, our program has graduated approximately 300 professionals who occupy positions of leadership in many academic, public and private sectors of the country.

Faculty & Staff

Leah R. Alexander

Leah Alexander Ph.D., MPH

Director and Associate Professor

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Aramandla Ramesh Ph.D., MSc

Associate Professor

Mekeila Cook

Mekeila Cook, Ph.D., MA

Assistant Professor

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Robert Taylor, MPA


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Derek Wilus, MS


Mohammad Tabatabai

Mohammad Tabatabai, Ph.D.

Professor and Director of Biostatistics

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Wansoo Im, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

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Garrett Harper, Ph.D., MPH

Adjunct Professor

Vanisha Brown [update] 2024 sq

Vanisha L. Brown, Ph.D., MPH

Adjunct Professor

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Marilyn Adams

MPH Program Coordinator

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Brianna Davis, MPH

Program Manager

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Cynthia C. Harris, MPH

Program Manager

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Elizabeth C. Stewart, Dr.P.H., MSPH

Assistant Professor

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Chioma N. Kas-Osoka, Ph.D., MPH

Post-Doctoral Research Associate


Diversifying the field of public health leaders, practitioners, and researchers to advance health equity locally, nationally, and beyond.


The mission of the Master of Public Health (MPH) program at Meharry Medical College is to improve the health and well-being of people of color and underserved communities. We strive to eradicate health disparities, through educational excellence, evidence-based research, and culturally competent service.


There are 5 goals that address the primary functions of the program:

  • To provide a quality public health education experience that equips diverse students with the competence to address the public health needs of all populations, especially the underserved.

  • To provide opportunities for faculty and students to engage in scholarly activities that enhance the public health evidence base for the elimination of health disparities.

  • To provide opportunities for the professional development of students, faculty, community, and the public health workforce.

  • To provide opportunities for the professional development of students, faculty, community, and the public health workforce.

  • To strengthen and sustain partnerships and collaborations with local and national academic, community, and public health practice organizations.


  • Excellence — Consistently achieving outstanding levels of performance while upholding the highest standards of ethical behavior, intellectual honesty, and professional conduct.

  • Service — Establishing and maintaining a nurturing community-based service-oriented culture and environment that exceeds expectations.

  • Accountability — Accepting individual and collective responsibility for preserving and effectively managing the resources of the Program.

  • Teamwork — Encouraging, supporting and valuing the collaborative efforts of faculty, staff and students to advance the quality of education, research, and service.

  • Innovation — Promoting creativity and the development of ideas that stimulate improvements in our intellectual and operational endeavors.

  • Diversity — Fostering an inclusive environment that includes ethnic, intellectual, social, and cultural, and gender diversity.

  • Advocacy — Advocating for local, state and national health and public policies and training directed at improving the status of health of all individuals with an understanding of the health care needs of underserved populations.

  • Health Equity — Insisting that everyone has equal chance to reach their full potential without undue influence from social circumstances, health disparities and systems that limit access to opportunities and resources.

  • Critical Thinking — Cultivating a disciplined, systematic process for evidenced-based decision making to solve public health problems.

To be eligible for regular admission to the Meharry Medical College MPH program, candidates must apply by April 1st. All applications for the MPH program are processed through the centralized application service for public health (SOPHAS).


While GRE scores are not required, they are preferred.


A complete SoPHAS application will include:

  • A resume or CV

  • A personal statement highlighting your career aspiration related to Public Health

  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools

  • Three academic or professional letters of recommendation. We require at least 2 from previous professors and 1 from an individual who is qualified to certify the applicant’s abilities and/ or character (i.e. mentor, academic advisor, employment supervisor)

SoPHAS Applications
Apply Now >


After the completed SOPHAS application is reviewed by the MPH admissions committee, qualified applicants will be asked to submit a supplemental Meharry application. Please upload a photo to your supplemental application.

International Applicants

International applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit TOEFL scores. The Meharry school code is 1458. Official transcripts are required and must be evaluated by one the following:
World Education Services (WES)
Global Credential Evaluators (GCE)
Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)

Financial Aid

For more information visit this page >

Students are required to take the following required and elective courses based on their interest and intent to take the comprehensive examination or complete a thesis document.

Course Map

1st Year MPH Students Fall 1st Year MPH Student Spring
Course Credit Course Credit
Epidemiology I 3 Health Behavior 3
Biostats I 3 Health Administration and Planning 3
Foundations in Public Health 2 Data Management 3
Research Design 3 Environmental 3
Public Health Practice 1
Total Credits 12

Total Credits 12

2nd Year MPH Students Fall 2021 2nd Year MPH Student Spring 2022
Course Credit Course Instructor
Applied Practice Experience (2) 1 Integrated Learning Experience II 2
Integrated Learning Experience I (1) 2 Elective 3
Elective 3 Elective 3
Elective 3 Applied Practice Experience II (2) 1
Elective 3
Total Credits 12 Total Credits 9

Total Credit Hour (30 required + 15 electives) = 45 hrs.

Current course descriptions:

Click image to view PDF


Worship of God through Service to Mankind


The MPH program strives to provide excellent education in public health, placing special emphasis on people of color from underserved backgrounds (regardless of race or ethnicity), delivering high quality health services, and conducting research that fosters the elimination of health disparities. Our students come from all over the United States as well as the international community.


Two student organizations at Meharry contribute to this atmosphere of learning, the Graduate Student Association and the Division of Public Health Practice Student Association (DPHP-SA). These organizations promote student growth at Meharry Medical College and encourage positive relationships between the students, staff, faculty, and administration. Moreover, they demonstrate Meharry’s good will toward its neighbors through organized activities and volunteer projects in the community.


Our students are a vital part of these programs and are encouraged to attend meetings, provide input, and in turn garner input from the student associations for the improvement of the MPH program. Students have participated in community service projects such as Hands on Nashville, the Nashville AIDS walk, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and High School

Takeover. Professional and personal friendships that last a lifetime are formed around the Meharry Medical College MPH experience.



  • To foster a spirit of unity within the MPH program amongst all students, faculty, and administration.

  • To stimulate all students of Meharry Medical College to support and actively engage in activities that promote public health.

  • To serve as an educational unit to the community, raising the awareness of health and health disparities.

  • To provide a means for equitable review for all grievances and concerns pertaining to the academic atmosphere and the quality of student life while upholding the confidentiality and trust of its members.


Membership in the DPHP-SA is open to all students enrolled in the MPH program at Meharry Medical College. Membership is not denied to any individual because of race, sex, color, religion, national origin, or handicap. The DPHP-SA’s executive board meets biweekly during the academic year and the membership meets monthly.

The MPH Program in the Meharry Medical College Division of Public Health Practice is accredited by the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH). CEPH evaluates public health schools and programs to evaluate the quality of Public Health instruction, research and service. In August 2022, the CEPH Board of Councilors voted to re-accredit the MPH program for a seven-year term through December 21, 2029.


Our final CEPH Accreditation Self-Study resulted from a collaborative process that included Meharry faculty, staff, students, alumni and community stakeholders. Request our self-study here.


CEPH’s final report for the MPH Program @ Meharry can be found here.

Delta Omega Honorary Society was founded in 1924 at the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health to promote excellence and recognize accomplishments in public health. There are over 100 chapters worldwide with 20,000 individual members throughout the US and abroad.


Student eligibility and application process: Not more than 20% of eligible student candidates can be elected to membership in a given calendar year. Those students who are elected shall have demonstrated real or potential qualities of leadership in public health in addition to academic excellence.


At the beginning of the Spring semester, emails will be sent to undergraduate and graduate students in the top 25% of their graduating classes. Students must have applied for graduation in order to be eligible.


Eligible students must submit an application with the following documents:

  • A one-page personal statement that addresses your qualifications for induction into Delta Omega and includes the following elements:

    • Why you would like to become a member of Delta Omega,

    • Your plans for a career in Public Health, and

    • Evidence of leadership while a student at NYU CGPH.

  • A CV or resume.


Faculty eligibility and application process: Members of the faculty shall be selected by a nominating committee of at least three members appointed by the chapter president. This selection committee will give particular attention to outstanding public health performance in scholarship, teaching, research, and the quality of publications through a careful review of the curricula vitarum. The total number of faculty members elected in any one year may not exceed 3% of the full-time faculty (a minimum of 1 is allowed each year).


At the beginning of the Spring semester, an email will be sent to faculty soliciting applications and nominations for Delta Omega. The faculty application requires the following documents:

  • A cover letter briefly summarizing your accomplishments and commitment to public health, and

  • A CV or NIH biosketch (part A, the personal statement is not required).


Alumni eligibility and application process: Each year, each Chapter may induct alumni members in an amount not to exceed half of that allowed for its student inductions for that year. Regardless of this calculation, each Chapter will have the option to induct at least 5 alumni members annually.


At the beginning of the Spring semester, an email will be sent to alumni soliciting applications and nominations for Delta Omega. The alumni application requires the following documents:

  • A cover letter briefly summarizing your accomplishments and commitment to public health, and

  • A CV or NIH biosketch (part A, the personal statement is not required).


Honorary member eligibility and nomination process: Honorary members are persons possessing exceptional qualifications and who have attained meritorious distinction in the field of public health. They are elected by a majority vote of those voting in each chapter. The chapter is limited to the greater of one honorary member or 5% of the allowed student member inductions.


At the beginning of the Spring semester, an email will be sent to faculty and students soliciting nominations for Delta Omega. The nomination should include a letter explain the nominee’s qualification for the award as well as a CV or biosketch.

Leah R. Alexander

Leah Alexander, Ph.D., MPH

Director, MPH Program, Associate Professor
Meharry Medical College


Melva Black, Ed.D., MA

Leslie R. Boone, MPH sq

Leslie R. Boone, MPH

Research Services Consultant
Vanderbilt University Medical Center


Kendric Dartis, MSHS-PH

Senior Engagement & Outreach Strategist
United States Food and Drug Administration

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Jessica Ehule, MSPH, MS

Director of Programs
CityMatCH at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

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Dawn B. Griffin, Ph.D., MSPH


Piia T. Hanson, MSPH, MBA

Principal Consultant
Ph Solutions


Fonda Harris, Ph.D.

Interim Director of Population Health
Metro Nashville Public Health Department


Cynthia D. Jackson, Ph.D.

Behavioral Health Program Manager
Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center

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Mohamed Kanu, Ph.D., MPH, MA

Interim Associate Dean – College of Health Sciences
Tennessee State University

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Omar`an D. Lee, MDiv

13th Episcopal District AME Church


KaShawna Lollis, MSPH

Performance Management Coordinator
Metro Public Health Department


Shanell L. McGoy, Ph.D., MPH

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Tonya McKennley, MSPH

Epidemiologist/Program Manager
Tennessee Department of Health

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Osei Mevs, MPH

Vice President of Government Relations
Acadia Healthcare

Dr. La' Niya J. Odoms, MSPH, M.Ed.

La’Niya J. Odoms, M.D., MSPH, MEd

Adult Primary Care Physician & Pediatrician
Crescent Care – New Orleans, LA

Portraits of Freida made at 605 Clayborne Court, Nashville, TN, on 19 September 2014.

Freida Outlaw, Ph.D., RN, APRN, FAAN

Executive Academic Program Consultant
SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Program/American Nurses Association


Jessica Powell, MS

Director of Community Affairs
Meharry Medical College

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Toya V. Randolph, Ph.D., MSPH

Assistant Vice President for Research Administration
DOD Uniformed Services University


Kimberly Seals, MSPH, MBA

Director, Bureau of Maternal and Child Health
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

The APE contributes an important professional preparation dimension to the MPH Program. MPH candidates have the opportunity to actively integrate theory and concepts with practical experience during the APE in a variety of locations and settings. Students will work with APE coordinator to identify a paid or unpaid opportunity with a public health professional to gain valuable public health experience to meet educational and professional growth goals. The 400-hour experience ends with a final report and two work products evaluating the APE and how students’ skills have grown.


Public Health includes a broad spectrum of opportunities, which include, but are not limited to, research, policy formation, organizational management, health administration, community assessments, and program development. STUDENTs should be mindful during their APE that they are developing competence relevant to the learning objectives of the MPH program while fulfilling the requirements of their degree.


A relevant public health experience must include at least one of the following components:

  1. Assessing, monitoring, or conducting surveillance of health conditions/services in a population; and establishing health objectives and priorities.

  2. Conducting research on population-based health problems, including biological, environmental and behavioral issues.

  3. Developing and/or implementing policies and intervention strategies to meet public health needs.

  4. Researching the natural history of a disease or health-related effects in an individual and how it translates to the population.


Completion of the APE will include an APE portfolio including the following Items:

  1. Cover page

  2. Table of contents

  3. Copy of APE approval form

  4. Organizational brochure or information page

  5. Five (5) Competency Reflections highlighting your chosen competencies Weekly time sheets signed and adding up to at least 400 hours

  6. Student Evaluation

  7. Preceptor Evaluation

  8. Final Competency Reflections /Report

  9. Two (2) Final Products*


What are some examples of acceptable final products?

This is not an exhaustive list, but final products that you can complete for your APE include:

  • Surveys (Quantitative or qualitative)

  • Datasets

  • GIS Maps

  • Program evaluation reports

  • Scientific posters

  • Policy evaluations

  • Budgets

  • Grant proposals

  • Health promotion materials

  • Training course curriculum

  • Site-specific reports


* Refer to the APE Manual for more details.