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Certificate in Public Health, Emergency Preparedness, and Disaster Response

Certificate in Public Health, Emergency Preparedness, and Disaster Response

This four-course public health certificate program will prepare students to play a role in public health emergency response. It will provide students with an understanding of emergency management systems, introduce them to various forms of disasters and public health threats, as well as to various response skills essential to public health. Students who successfully complete this certificate will also earn three FEMA certificates and a certificate in contact tracing.​

This certificate program can be completed in as little as six months (two courses per term), or 12 months (one course per term). The certificate is an online program offered through the Public Health department at A.T. Still University’s College of Graduate Health Studies (ATSU-CGHS).

The first cohort of students in the Certificate in Public Health, Emergency Preparedness, and Disaster Response program will matriculate in January 2021.

  • University Catalog+

    • University Catalog Program guide

      Review the University Catalog to learn more about the program and university. Read detailed course descriptions and obtain answers to many of your questions regarding application and tuition.

Certificate in Public Health, Emergency Preparedness, and Disaster Response Degree Faculty

  • Associate Dean of Academics and Assessment +

      • Jim Farris, PT, Ph.D. Jim Farris, PT, Ph.D.

        Jim Farris, PT, PhD, is the associate dean for academics and assessment in A.T. Still University’s College of Graduate Health Studies (ATSU-CGHS). Dr. Farris earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1987, and master’s degree in exercise science in 1989, both from California State University, Fresno; as well as a bachelor’s degree in physical therapying 1999 from Arkansas State University. His doctoral degree was conferred by The Ohio State University in 1995, where his studies focused on exercise physiology and nutrition. His current scholarship efforts are aimed at cardiopulmonary fitness throughout the lifespan.

        He joined ATSU in 2009, started his associate dean role in 2020, and is now in his 25th year of higher education and administration. Dr. Farris has over a decade of academic administration and assessment experience as a department chair and has strived for overall educational excellence in that role. He completed the American Physical Therapy Association’s Education Leadership Institute Fellowship, is an Educational Leadership Institute Fellow, and has served on the board of directors for the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy before joining ATSU-CGHS.


        He enjoys serving the community, and one our nation’s most underserved populations, through his role as a clinical director for the FUNfitness program that is part of the Special Olympics Healthy Athlete’s program. His home is in the west where outdoor activity and sunshine is abundant. Work-life integration is a goal and he “sharpens the saw” through golfing, cycling, fishing, hiking, cooking, brewing, and yardwork.

  • Administration and Faculty +

      • Jeffrey Chaffin, DDS, MPH, MBA, MHA Jeffrey Chaffin, DDS, MPH, MBA, MHA
        Assistant Professor
        Read Bio Jeffrey Chaffin, DDS, MPH, MBA, MHA  LinkedIn
      • Jaana Gold, DDS, PhD, MPH, CPH Jaana Gold, DDS, PhD, MPH, CPH
        Read Bio Jaana Gold, DDS, PhD, MPH, CPH LinkedIn
      • Gregory Loeben, PhD, MA Gregory Loeben, PhD, MA
        Associate Professor
        Read Bio Gregory Loeben, PhD, MA LinkedIn
      • M. Lindsay Wright, DMD, MPH M. Lindsay Wright, DMD, MPH
        Assistant Professor
        Read Bio M. Lindsay Wright, DMD, MPH  LinkedIn
      • Mary-Katherine McNatt, DrPH, MPH, MCHES, CPH, COI Mary-Katherine McNatt, DrPH, MPH, MCHES, CPH, COI
        Associate Professor and Chair
        Read Bio Mary-Katherine McNatt, DrPH, MPH, MCHES, CPH, COI LinkedIn
      • Josefine Ortiz Wolfe, Ph.D., RDH, CHES Josefine Ortiz Wolfe, Ph.D., RDH, CHES
        Assistant Professor
        Read Bio

Certificate in Public Health, Emergency Preparedness, and Disaster Response Degree Admissions

ATSU’s renowned master of public health online department admits public health professionals who have diverse graduate education, work history and life experiences. Qualified candidates demonstrate an ability to pursue a rigorous course of graduate academic study and hold increasingly responsible positions in public health.

Students are selected by an admission committee that considers the overall qualities of the applicant through application content, academic record, prior experience, letters of evaluation, and personal motivation. In special circumstances, a personal interview may be required.

  • Requirements +

      2. Application:
        • Completed and signed admissions application along with a nonrefundable application fee.


      3. Academic:

        • An accredited degree from a university recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (bachelor’s degree for masters programs and a master’s degree for doctoral programs). Applicants who graduated from a university outside the United States may have to provide a degree equivalency evaluation.*
        • Official transcript from the qualifying degree-granting institution. For students using VA benefits transcripts for all institutions attended are required.
        • Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) at the qualifying degree institution.
        • Some degree programs may require experience or credentialing relevant to the field.


      4. Elements of Success:

        • A current resume.
        • Completion of an essay.
        • English Proficiency **
        • Meet technology requirements.***


      *Applicants who have graduated from a foreign college or university should submit acceptable evidence of U.S. degree/course equivalency. All course work taken at the foreign institution must be evaluated for American institution equivalence by one of the following services:


      **Applicants are required to demonstrate proficiency in English when applying to A.T. Still University’s College of Graduate Studies. Written and spoken proficiency in the English language may be demonstrated by one of the following options:

      • Option 1 - English is your first language.
      • Option 2 - Graduated from a regionally accredited four year college/university in the United States with a BA/BS or graduate degree.
      • Option 3 - You are demonstrating your English proficiency by submitting acceptable scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

      Acceptable minimal scores for CGHS applications are:
      The Computer Based Test (CBT), Internet Based Test (iBT), or the Paper Based Test (PBT) are accepted. The following are the minimum required score based on test type:

      • CBT - minimum total score of 213 Minimum of 22/Reading Skills section | Minimum of 26/Writing Skills section
      • iBT - minimum total score of 80 Minimum of 22/Reading Skills section | Minimum of 24/Writing Skills section
      • PBT - minimum total score of 550 Minimum of 57/Reading Skills section | Minimum of 61/Writing Skills section

      The TOEFL is administered by TOEFL/TSE Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, NJ, 08541-6151, USA 609. 771.7100. A.T. Still University’s institutional code is 0339. Please be sure to include this information when you submit your application packet. TOEFL Educational Testing Services P.O. Box 6151 Princeton, NJ 08541-6151, 609.771.7100
      ***ATSU technology requirements


  • Tuition+

    • Review tuition and fees for the Certificate in Public Health, Emergency Preparedness, and Disaster Response program. Please note tuition and fees are subject to change.

  • Financial Aid+

    • Federal financial aid is not available for certificate and non-degree enrollments.

The Family and Culture

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Certificate in Public Health, Emergency Preparedness, and Disaster Response Curriculum Overview

The online Certificate in Public Health, Emergency Preparedness, and Disaster Response curriculum provides comprehensive training that develops leaders who are fully prepared to address society’s healthcare issues. All core courses are taught by ATSU’s exceptional, doctoral-level faculty, which includes former top national public servants, industry leaders and academic innovators in public health.

Guidelines for MPH alumni and current students:
Alumni of ATSU-CGHS’s Master of Public Health (MPH) program in the last seven years are able to receive credit for their PUBH5000 (Introduction to Public Health) and EPID6100 (Epidemiology) courses from when they completed their master’s degree. Any alumni who completed those courses more than seven years ago will need to retake the courses.

Students must take SHMG6000 (Global Health Issues) in 20-21SP or later, as the course is being revised specifically for the certificate program.

Students who completed EPID6100 prior to 20-21SP, are not required to retake this course, but need to understand if they choose not to, they will not receive the contract tracing part of the certificate curriculum (certification available).

  • Introduction to Public Health+

    • Credits: 3

      This course is a comprehensive introduction to public health within the context of the U.S. healthcare system. Contents include the concept of public health, its problems in the context of social and community factors, its development from a historical perspective, the role and mission of public health organizations, and an overview of current public health concepts, models, and policy.

  • Epidemiology+

    • Credits: 3

      This course examines the study of disease in populations from a public health perspective. Topics include research methods, study designs, sampling, data analysis, interpretation of data, and application of findings for public health policy.

  • Global Health+

    • Credits: 3

      Global healthcare is an emerging priority for organizations and governments worldwide because of the impact on international economic stability. Technology, research, and the advancement of healthcare interventions have produced improvements in health outcomes for many. Unfortunately, these advancements have also led to inequalities in health status within and between countries. The world is faced with new challenges such as the potential for pandemics, an aging population, a diminishing healthcare workforce, and the stresses of determining resource allocation. This course explores the many facets of global health to expose the student to the complexity of the concepts that impact healthcare in developing and developed countries.

  • Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response+

    • Credits: 3

      For years, public health has played a critical role in responding to emergencies and disasters of all kinds. This course examines the roles and responsibilities of public health during a disaster and emergency. You will examine the various types of disasters and emergencies, including bioterrorism, infectious disease outbreaks, and natural disasters, and learn how a response is planned, initiated, and coordinated. This course will also introduce you to emergency preparedness planning and common concepts, principles, terminology, and organizational processes used including the National Response Framework (NRF), Incident Command System (ICS), and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Students who successfully complete this course will earn three FEMA certifications.