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Primary Health Care & Health Disparities (Online)

Oregon MPH at Oregon Health Science University School of Nursing
The Primary Health Care & Health Disparities specialty track is offered in an online format. It is the only Oregon MPH specialty track that is entirely online; and one of only a few accredited online specialties in the country.
This program is based upon the concepts and principles of Primary Health Care. Primary health care is both a philosophy and an approach to providing health services. By emphasizing improvements in primary health care access and quality for underserved populations, this degree program prepares graduates to tackle health disparities in a unique way.
Students completing this track will be prepared to assume leadership roles in a variety of settings, including but not limited to community health centers and health maintenance organizations, community agencies and health departments, and official and voluntary health agencies and organizations. Graduates are able to ensure the quality of implemented clinical and community care activities, act as a resource for the development of innovative and expanded responses in clinical and community care, coordinate care with regional and county offices, interface with all services involved with the care of patients, and provide counseling and education for families and patients receiving care. Students in the Primary Health Care & Health Disparities program will identify and explore the socio-cultural, economic, psychosocial, political and organizational influences on the health care of populations and design and implement interventions and policies that address identified health inequities as consistent with the World Health Organization primary health care philosophy of care. 
Track Learning Competencies
The Primary Health Care & Health Disparities track provides training in the population perspective of health care and disease prevention. Prospective students include professionals whose qualifications are in health care, who see clients/patients directly, or who work or desire to work within a primary medical or nursing care organization that offers patients open access.
Students graduating from this track will be able to:
  • Assess, analyze and synthesize the health status of vulnerable populations.
  • Identify, develop and manage interventions to promote and protect the health of populations at risk.
  • Lead and participate in interprofessional efforts to address health inequities with community partners. 
  • Conduct, participate in or apply research which improves the health of a population.
  • Assess and integrate cultural beliefs and practices into public health interventions.
  • Develop & apply effective communication strategies across multiple sectors of the community.
  • Understand the principles of public health ethics and apply them to public health practice.
  • Employ knowledge of health systems organization and health care finance to population based health problems. 
  • Apply quality improvement and risk management principles in the development, management and/or evaluation of population health services.
  • Understand and participate in the process of grant and proposal development.
  • Employ techniques to manage human, fiscal, and other public health resources.

Track Information

Contact Information

Admissions Information:

OHSU School of Nursing
Curricular Information:
Deborah C. Messecar, PHD, MPH, RN, CNS
Track Director
Oregon Health & Science University
School of Nursing
Related web resources:


Please visit for current MPH information (09/19/2016)