The role of public health is rapidly evolving, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Now more than ever, clear and targeted public health communications are needed to establish best practices for containing the virus and overcoming this global health crisis. New technologies and new methodologies for a rapidly-evolving world are coming into play quickly, and even as we address COVID-19 with updated health communications practices, so too must graduate education shift in the field to stay ahead of what’s next.

That means more online and flexible class schedules that accommodate busy, mobile, and working students, and this is where the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) becomes a critical resource.

CUNY SPH programs and concentrations are not just cutting-edge––some are the first of their kind––but truly accommodating to the pace of the modern student’s work and family life. Their programs give students from all over the world first-hand access to New York City’s public health networks, including public agencies, multinational corporations, and international NGOs.

Associate Professor Chris Palmedo

The Health Communication for Social Change program, for example, is one of a kind.

“This is the only fully-online health communications program offered by an accredited school of public health,” says program co-founder Dr. Chris Palmedo. “Most health communication programs are offered by journalism and communications schools, and no online program is offered at other schools of public health. Ours can be completed anywhere in the world.”

Global mobility is not only priority for most CUNY SPH students, but it also stands as a direct parallel to the core objective the school’s programs aim to reach: a more relevant health policy solution for a diverse global society. CUNY SPH program co-founder Dr. Scott Ratzan says, “The linkage with online delivery of courses with integration into community and global activities offers students unparalleled opportunities.”

Another one-of-a-kind degree offering is the Population Health Informatics program, created and introduced just last fall by Senior Associate Dean Ashish Joshi.

“A number of sources confirmed the need for training in the area of population health,” Joshi said, “This program will show students how technology can be used at the intersection of clinical care and health sciences to strengthen the efforts for preventive care at the population level.”

Its approach is unique and globally focused, yet brings its impact straight to population scale.

“While most health informatics programs take a hospital-centric approach,” Joshi continued, “this innovative, first-of-its-kind program puts a global focus on operationalizing informatics solutions that address important public health challenges impacting individuals, families, communities, and the environment in which they live.”

These graduate programs are just a few of the many offered at the school. The specialties are vast, from Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and Health Policy and Management to one of incredible relevance to today’s increasingly complex and transnational public health needs: Global and Migrant Health Policy.

“Global and migrant health policies are the instruments through which countries and transnational communities act collectively to protect and promote our health.” says Dr. Jim Sherry, a faculty member and co-founder of the MS in Global and Migrant Health Policy program. “This program prepares graduates to better understand, leverage, and advance the instruments, agreements, and institutions that constitute the global and migrant health policy ecosystem at municipal, state, national, and international levels.”

That’s no small ambition.

“The Global and Migrant Health Policy MS program is unique because it can be obtained entirely online, opening up opportunities for professionals working full-time and for professionals outside NYC,” says faculty member Dr. Kathleen Cravero.

In addition to flexibility, CUNY SPH students are afforded personalized attention, with small class sizes and 80 percent of the faculty working full-time. Students give their faculty a 90 percent positive rating.

CUNY SPH alumni outcomes speak volumes about the school’s impact. Fully 97 percent of graduates are employed or continuing their education, with 80 percent of them working directly within their field of study––a rate of success that places them among the top schools of public health in the nation.

For more information about the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and how these three online master of science programs grant students from around the globe access to leading public health expertise, abundant resources, and strong networks, visit

This post is a sponsored collaboration between CUNY SPH and Gothamist staff.