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Mission and Values

The Vanderbilt MPH Program’s mission, goals, objectives, and values are reviewed on an annual basis by the Advisory Committee which is made up of program faculty members, students, and alumni,and public health professionals.


Train future research scientists and public health professionals to be leaders and innovators dedicated to improving public health in a program environment rich in learning, discovery, and service.


To fulfill its mission, the Vanderbilt MPH Program has the following goals:

  • Educate innovative and effective public health researchers, faculty, and practitioners
  • Advance knowledge in the public health sciences through research and discovery
  • Contribute to sound public health policies and practices through dissemination of knowledge and community collaboration

The three goals of the Vanderbilt MPH Program are distinct and interrelated. For example, we believe that a critically effective way to support our teaching and service is through a strong emphasis on research. On the other hand, teaching and research are enhanced enormously through faculty and student involvement in public health policy and service activities. This is reflected in our goals and in the interdependence of our objectives for achieving them. We pursue each of our goals through meeting the objectives listed under them.

Educate innovative and effective public health researchers, faculty, and practitioners.

  • Recruit highly talented students with cultural diversity who are committed to public health and will likely make substantial contributions to the field.
  • Provide students exposure to outstanding faculty in the range of disciplines and specialties consistent with the program’s mission
  • Provide excellent educational programs and opportunities
  • Promote lifelong learning

Advance knowledge in the public health sciences through research and discovery.

  • Contribute scientific knowledge in the public health disciplines
  • Foster an environment that promotes creativity, collaboration, and interdisciplinary research
  • Train researchers and public health practitioners to compete successfully for funding in the public health sciences

Contribute to sound public health policies and practices through dissemination of knowledge and community collaboration.

  • Build and foster community alliances that bridge public health science and practice
  • Engage in collaborative research, training, and service activities with governmental and non-governmental organizations in the community
  • Disseminate public health knowledge and research findings to policy-makers, public health professionals, and the general community

The Vanderbilt MPH Program is firmly committed to public health values, concepts, and ethics. The values that guide the program arise from a commitment to public health as stated in the 2002 Institute of Medicine report as “what we, as a society, do collectively to assure the conditions for people to be healthy.” As members of the institutional environment at Vanderbilt University and as a degree granting program of the School of Medicine, the values that guide the Vanderbilt MPH Program represent integration of the public health values with the overarching values of the University and the School:

  • A commitment to perform activities in a scholarly manner based on an understanding of the need to engage in lifelong learning
  • Commitment to achieve excellence in professional area(s) of individual interest
  • The capacity to recognize and accept limitations in one’s knowledge and skills, and to acknowledge and rectify personal shortcomings that may result from those limitations
  • Honesty and integrity in all interactions
  • An understanding of, and respect for, inter-professional collaboration, the benefits of a diverse faculty, staff, and student body, and of the need to collaborate with others in promoting the health of populations

Vanderbilt University lists the following values as those held most highly by the institution:

  • Intellectual freedom that supports open inquiry
  • Equality, compassion, and excellence in all endeavors

The Vanderbilt MPH Program’s Strategic Plan was guided by a steering committee made up of program leadership, faculty, students, alumni, and public health professionals. The steering committee mapped out a plan for obtaining broad input from all key stakeholders, including the above groups and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine leadership.

A draft strategic plan was developed by the steering committee and posted publicly on the website for comment and circulated to key stakeholders by email. Following a period of public comment, these suggestions were incorporated into the final document.

In spring 2014, the program began the Implementation Phase of the Strategic Plan to guide the program over the next 3-5 years.

Read the 2014 Strategic Plan