Two First-of-Their-Kind Programs Launch at SPHHP

Master of Science degree program in rehabilitation science


The School of Public Health and Health Professions has added a Master of Science degree program in rehabilitation science, the first such program in the State University of New York system. A key aim of the new community-based program is to give students an opportunity to engage in research that will have an impact on the surrounding community.

The Department of Rehabilitation Science designed the new program to provide a rigorous curriculum that creates a foundation for research and evidence-based practice in the rehabilitation health fields, including physical and occupational therapy.

“This program is an ideal way for students to prepare to enter a PhD program in rehabilitation science,” said Clinical Associate Professor Sharon Ray, ScD, OTR/L, co-director of the Rehabilitation Science PhD program. “It’s also appropriate for health professionals in our region because it offers them the chance to get a degree that can pave the way for career advancement.”

The MS in Rehabilitation Science program focuses on building knowledge and skills in five important areas: research design and methods, statistics, research ethics, theories of rehabilitation science, and principles of disability and rehabilitation. It also offers three culminating experience options (thesis, project or exam) to accommodate students’ specific goals.

When students graduate from the program, they’ll be prepared to engage in research that ultimately has application in the real world. They can apply to PhD programs in rehabilitation science, many of which require a master’s degree with research experience to apply, to develop further their roles as scientists, advanced practitioners, educators and leaders. They also can advance their careers by gaining a master’s degree.

Master of Science in international development and global health.

Global Health program.

In a bid to support a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of achieving global health equity by 2030, UB launched a first-of-its kind Master of Science in international development and global health.

Jointly hosted by SPHHP and the School of Architecture and Planning, the program combines coursework as diverse as refugee health, the politics of water, epidemiology and infectious disease, the built environment and health, and environmental planning. The intensively interdisciplinary program is designed to address widening gaps in human health globally through the socioeconomic, environmental and geopolitical arenas of international development.

Emphasizing a model of collaborative learning, the program’s field semester demonstrates the value of local knowledge in addressing global health inequity. Gauri Desai, PhD, clinical assistant professor of epidemiology and environmental health is co-director of the new program with Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, PhD, associate professor and interim chair in urban planning in the School of Architecture and Planning.

"The MSIDGH field experience aims to connect the 'global' and 'local', and ranges from opportunities in Western New York to various countries around the world," said Desai.

The new program focuses on the legacies of colonial policies as enduring structural precursors of privilege and bias as barriers to global health equity. These themes are embedded in the curriculum and supported by lectures and visits from global practitioners, maintaining space for organic dialogue within each cohort.