July 21, 2022

Epidemiology PhD program receives CEPH accreditation

The Vanderbilt Epidemiology PhD Program has received accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).


by Leigh MacMillan

The Vanderbilt Epidemiology PhD Program has received accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Peter Rebeiro, PhD, MHS

CEPH is the nation’s foremost authority on education in the disciplines associated with public health, including epidemiology (the basic science of public health), biostatistics, and health policy and management, said Peter Rebeiro, PhD, MHS, assistant professor of Medicine and Biostatistics. Rebeiro has served as director of Graduate Studies for the Epidemiology PhD Program since July 2020 after serving as associate director for three years.

CEPH’s mission is to “assure quality in public health education and training to achieve excellence in practice, research and service, through collaboration with organizational and community partners,” according to the council’s website.

“CEPH accreditation means that an independent professional educational standards organization has agreed that our program meets or exceeds the standards and competencies set forth for professional public health education and practice in graduate programs, particularly for doctoral programs in epidemiology,” Rebeiro said. “We are proud to offer a CEPH-accredited public health doctoral degree, and we will continue to engage and prepare our students through rigorous quantitative training in epidemiology.”

Most applicants to programs in public health in the U.S., including epidemiology PhD programs, look for CEPH-accredited programs through the Schools of Public Health Application Service common application system, Rebeiro said.

The Vanderbilt Epidemiology PhD Program welcomed its first cohort of students in fall 2009. There are currently 19 students in the program, with another seven beginning this fall.

The doctoral program in epidemiology joins six other CEPH-accredited programs at Vanderbilt: three MPH (Master of Public Health) programs with concentrations in epidemiology, global health and health policy, and three joint degree programs: MPH-MA, MD-MPH, and MPH-MEd.

To apply for CEPH accreditation, the program worked with MPH and doctoral program teaching faculty to request the substantive change to the university’s CEPH accreditation. The process included Melissa Krasnove, MEd, epidemiology PhD program manager, W. Bradley Hawkins, PhD, MPH, MPH practicum director, Rebeiro, and other teaching faculty mapping the learning objectives and core competencies required by CEPH for a graduate degree in public health to all epidemiology PhD course syllabi, lectures and assessments.

“Our epidemiology PhD program has been judged, not just by its administrators, but by external peer programs and specialists in public health pedagogy, to be didactically rigorous and to provide the appropriate content and training for independent scientists in epidemiology and public health,” Rebeiro said.

“Having CEPH accreditation for our MPH program and now for our PhD Program in Epidemiology is a great testament to the high quality and rigor of our public health education programs,” said Russell Rothman, MD, MPP, director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health and Senior Vice President for Population and Public Health. “We are very proud of our programs and our graduates, many of whom go on to build important research, education and public health leadership roles at Vanderbilt and other locations across the world to improve population and public health.”