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Contextualizing Indian Masters of Public Health (MPH) programs – challenges and the way forward


Kavya Sharma,

Public Health Foundation of India, IN
About Kavya
Manager, Academic Programs
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Sanjay Zodpey ,

Public Health Foundation of India, IN
About Sanjay
Director, Public Health Education
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Himanshu Negandhi,

Public Health Foundation of India, IN
About Himanshu
Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Public Health - Delhi
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Alison Morgan

University of Melbourne, AU
About Alison
Senior Technical Advisor in Maternal Health, Nossal Institute for Global Health
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Introduction: Traditionally, public health education in India is offered through Departments of Community Medicine in medical colleges open only for medical graduates. Against the background of manpower shortages in public health professions, several programs aimed at increasing numbers in specific areas of public health have been initiated recently for medical and non-medical graduates. MPH programs have been introduced for over two decades in the country, however, to date no systematic effort has been undertaken to synthesize all the information related to these courses.


Objective: To critically examine and understand the evolution and current status of MPH programs in India and to undertake a curriculum scan of the existing programs.


Methods: Information on Indian institutes offering MPH programs was collected using multiple approaches. The list was prepared by collating information from various sources. The institutes were contacted for procuring information related to MPH programs using a detailed structured questionnaire and the data was assembled in a matrix for further analysis.


Results: Twenty three institutes offering two year MPH programs were identified. Most offer a general MPH with a focus on core areas of public health. However, some of the institutions offer MPH with specialization (social epidemiology, health services management, environmental health, field epidemiology etc.) The course curriculum, eligibility criteria, structure of the program and evaluation system varies across the 23 institutes. A total of 16 batches (including 2010) have produced 1544 MPH graduates till 2010.


Conclusion: The absence of competency frameworks for the MPH courses in India and absence of a central accrediting body need to be urgently addressed. These will lead towards the gradual establishment of career pathways for these graduates in the public health system. The MPH programs also need to be standardized across the country with a uniform curriculum.
How to Cite: Sharma, K., Zodpey, S., Negandhi, H. and Morgan, A., 2014. Contextualizing Indian Masters of Public Health (MPH) programs – challenges and the way forward. South-East Asian Journal of Medical Education, 8(1), pp.21–30. DOI:
Published on 23 Jun 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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