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Public Health Scholarly Concentration

This scholarly concentration provides foundational knowledge in public health including:

  • an understanding of the U.S. health system

  • trends impacting public health

  • causes of death and disability

  • historical contributions of public health to life expectancy and quality of life

  • key terms and concepts

  • assessing and impacting public and population health at the local, state, and national levels

  • health system organization

  • local and global factors that determine health at a population level

  • evidence-based interventions and evaluations

Students should participate in both IMPRS and the Public Health Scholarly Concentration ONLY if they have the same mentor (or mentoring team) and project. There is insufficient time in the summer between the first and second years of medical school to do both.

Students who participate in the scholarly concentration can choose to enroll in IU School of Medicine's MD-MPH combined degree program. The two courses taken in the scholarly concentration will count towards the required coursework for the MPH, and the scholarly concentration project can be expanded to a master's thesis. Further information can be obtained from Bill Tierney, MD, director of the MD-MPH combined degree program.


All concentration coursework can be completed online. The scholarly project work occurs in Indianapolis or a mutually agreed upon site.

Curriculum and Timeline

Students completing the Public Health concentration fulfill the same core curriculum as students in other concentrations. The didactic components provide a strong academic and experiential foundation in public health that will be vital for completion of the core curriculum project and product.

Recommended Pathway

Students determine if a concentration pathway will fit in their schedule by contacting concentration co-directors. 

Scholarly Project Topic Examples

Students work with faculty to complete a project in a relevant topic based on student interests. Students are welcome to come up with their own project idea. Potential project topics include:
  • Access to health care
  • Aging and geriatric health
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Childhood development
  • Chronic disease management
  • Diabetes prevention and treatment
  • Global health
  • Health promotion/disease prevention: Adults
  • Health promotion/disease prevention: Children
  • Infectious diseases
  • Maternal and child health
  • Mental health
  • Neurologic diseases/stroke
  • Nutrition and obesity
  • Palliative care
  • Pandemic preparedness & response (+ vaccination)
  • Public health data, epidemiology, and analytics
  • Public safety
  • Social barriers to health
  • Substance use/misuse/addiction (opioids, alcohol, etc.)
  • Trauma
  • Tobacco use/smoking cessation

Student Testimonials

  • Rebekah Roll, Class of 2021

    Rebekah Roll“Being in the Public Health Scholarly Concentration program has provided me with invaluable interdisciplinary education. From learning basic introduction to public health to the overview of healthcare systems in America, I know I will carry this knowledge forward with me to provide better care for and with my patients."

    What have you learned through working on your scholarly project?

    It was an opportunity to learn more about scholarship. As a person who had never been involved in academic writing, this concentration has provided me with opportunities to learn about this process so I am comfortable doing it in the future.


Paul K. Halverson, DrPH

Dean, School of Public Health

Bio and Contact Information

13430-Harrington, Maureen

Maureen A. Harrington, PhD, MS

Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Bio and Contact Information

39011-Holmes, Jordan

Jordan A. Holmes, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology

Bio and Contact Information

4815-Tierney, William

Bill Tierney, MD

Clinical Professor, Associate Dean of Population Health and Health Outcomes

Bio and Contact Information