Master of Science in Global Health program graduates its first two students


Jasmine Dickson and Alyssa Maturen became the first graduates to complete the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s new Master of Science in Global Health program earlier this month. Initiated by the Institute of Global Health, the Global Health Studies program launched the new Graduate Certificate in Global Health in Spring 2020 and the master’s program in Summer 2020.

­­The one-year, online degree covers topics such as the global burden of disease, ethical issues and global health management to improve health and achieve health equity for all people worldwide. It sets the stage for a new approach to interdisciplinary, cross-cultural collaborations to solve complex global health problems spurred by accelerations in technology that impact human, animal and environmental health.

Taught by faculty from colleges throughout MSU, as well as partner universities and non-academic professionals, students of both the master’s and certificate programs are able to learn from diverse points of view to better understand root causes and an array of tools to tackle longstanding and emerging issues. The online program also includes an optional education abroad component.

Jasmine Dickson, a native of Ghana who now lives in the state of Georgia, is a self-described “lover of learning.” She’s always been driven to help Ghana develop its health infrastructure, so after finishing a Master of Pharmacology & Toxicology in 2020 from MSU, she jumped at the chance to get a higher-level systems understanding of the root causes and interconnections involved with health systems.

“Even as someone who grew up in a developing country, you think you know about these issues, but you have so much to learn in the program,” she says.

A former teacher who holds a Master of Education, she encourages anyone thinking about this program or any type of higher education to pursue further learning.

“If you’re interested, go for it, you won’t be disappointed and you’ll walk away having learned something very meaningful,” she says. The one-year program was a perfect fit to give her the global view she needed to narrow down ways she can help communities in Ghana, and the online format was already well-suited to the COVID-19 lockdown lifestyle.

“I’m glad I went for it,” she reflects. “I have so much Spartan pride and I feel so connected to MSU.” Jasmine plans to work in pharmaceutical regulations to impact the quality of medications accessible by the public.

Alyssa Maturen has long nurtured an interest in the medical field, solidified by a Global Brigades medical trip to Honduras she took as a junior in college at MSU.

“As soon as I saw MSU’s global health program and the courses I would be taking, I was sold. It was everything I had been looking for, and the best way to help me get where I wanted to go,” she says.

The flexibility of the online program allowed Maturen to continue working as a medical scribe and emergency department technician, and concurrently complete online courses towards MSU’s graduate certificate in medical neuroscience.

“When the pandemic hit, I was getting to experience global health in my personal life, education and professional work,” she reflects. She also managed the social media accounts for Global Health Studies, or GHS, an effort that earned her a nomination as the MSU Student Worker of the Year.

Although she wasn’t able to participate in an international trip with GHS because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, she still appreciates the connections she formed with professors and classmates.

“I am very proud to be part of something new at MSU. I was given opportunities to give feedback and shape the program,” she explains. The master’s graduate is currently applying to medical schools and studying for her LSATs and hopes to one day work in international rural settings as well as earn dual DO/JD or MD/JD (Juris Doctor) degrees.

GHS operates a rolling admission, so students can start the program any semester. In Spring 2021, GHS had 18 students enrolled its master’s program and two students enrolled in its certificate program. In Summer 2021, GHS will welcome six new admits.  

“It is a great program for anyone interested in international health care topics, and for anyone who is looking for a program that allows them to also maintain other aspects of life like work, family and travel. I really cannot recommend it enough,” Maturen says.

If you’re interested in applying, GHS is currently accepting applications for Fall 2021.