Physician Assistant speaking to patient

Academics

Double your degree. In TUC's Joint MSPAS/MPH Program, you'll earn two master's degrees in 33 months.

We believe the two degrees integrate perfectly, providing you with the skills to assess and serve both individuals and the communities in which they live.

Why Public Health and Medicine Together?

Understanding the intersectionality between where someone lives, their community, and their health is vital to providing culturally competent care.

TUC's one-of-a-kind joint MSPAS/MPH program views and teaches healthcare using a social justice framework and a public health lens to educate PAs who will provide culturally sensitive care and advocate for under-resourced communities - treating the person and the place they call home.

Our program values you in the same way we advocate for valuing all individuals at all times - specifically by increasing access to high-quality care for under-resourced communities with an emphasis in primary care.

Together, we can work to shape, care for and improve individual lives and overall community health. Join us today!

Our Joint Degree Program

two female PA students in white coats posing outside college building

Our MSPAS/MPH program combines intensive academic training with eight clinical rotations and one public health field study. Your PA education will prepare you to diagnose and treat medical problems, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions. At the same time, your public health education will prepare you to address health challenges at a societal level.

Curriculum

Below you'll find the courses, and their descriptions, you'll be taking while in the program. You'll also find lots of important information in the student handbooks:

Class of 2023 Student Handbook | Class of 2023 Clinical Handbook | Class of 2024 Student Handbook | Class of 2025 Student Handbook

Semester I - Fall

PASC 601K Pre-Clinical Basic Sciences (3 Units)

This course provides PA students with a review of core cell biology concepts related to the study of medicine and introduces students to medical pathology, genetics, and immunology in preparation for the Medicine course series beginning in semester II. Students are also introduced to the basic principles of pharmacology (pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, autonomic principles), as well as the mechanism of action, indications, contraindications, side effects, bioavailability, metabolism, and toxic and therapeutic levels of a variety of medications in preparation for the Pharmacology course series.

PASC 601B Anatomy w/Lab (3.5 Units)

This course familiarizes the PA student with clinically relevant anatomy of the human body with a focus on structural and functional relationships. Lab and lecture format with the laboratory portion including cadaver dissection and diagnostic imaging, focusing on spatial relationships, normal structure and normal variant structures, the relationships of organs and organ systems. There are clinical correlations and consideration of gross pathology.

PASC 601H Topics in PA Practice I (2 Units)

This is the first course in the three-part series. It focuses on understanding the philosophical and practical principles related to the following topics: professional and medical ethics, patient/provider & provider/provider relationships, HIPAA & confidentiality, history of the PA profession & professional practice, provider burnout, current topics in the PA profession and begins the discussion of working with under-resourced communities. In addition, students will complete an online course in medical terminology and the CDC-recognized Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and become certified lifestyle coaches.

PASC 601J Clinical Microbiology & Antimicrobial Pharmacology (1.5 Units)

This course sequences clinical microbiology with antimicrobial pharmacology. Students will learn habitat, pathogenesis, laboratory testing considerations and disease states for selected medically important microbes including HIV. For antimicrobials medications, students will learn the mechanism of action, indications, contraindications, side effects, bioavailability, metabolism, and toxic and therapeutic levels of a variety of medications.

PBHC 604 Health Policy and Management (3 Units)

This is a lecture-based course with interactive discussion sections, intended to introduce students to the policy-making process in the health sector and to give them an overview of the organization, management and financing of the US health system. We discuss the accessibility, cost, and quality of health care. The health care system in the community and its environment are examined to determine how they impact Health Services Administration.

PBHC 607 Biostatistics (3 Units)

This course provides students with statistical concepts and methods for analyzing continuous and categorical data, with an emphasis on learning analytical methods through hands-on experience with real data. Public health applications of descriptive statistics, basic probability concepts, one and two sample statistical inference, analysis of variance and simple linear regression are discussed. Students are introduced to a statistical computer package such as SPSS.

PBHC 608 Behavioral and Social Aspects of Public Health (3 Units)

This course provides students with an introduction to behavioral and social science theory in the context of public research and practice. This course exposes students to a broad range of theories and frameworks commonly employed in the public health arena, and applicable to other health professions as well (e.g., medicine, nursing, social work). Theories of health behavior help researchers, practitioners and participants (patients, community members) identify targets and opportunities for change as well as methods for accomplishing change. These theories are discussed using examples of their applications to numerous public health problems including, but not limited to, HIV/AIDS, material and child health, violence, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and global health. In addition, this course emphasizes developing strong scientific literacy and skills to interpret empirical evidence in the context of research methods.

PBHC 631 Social Justice Lecture Series (0 Units)

This course is a 6-part lecture series which includes individual and panel presentations from experts in the field of public health and social justice. Each 2-hour session will include a lecture or panel presentation followed by a question and answer period.

PBHC 648 Environmental Health (3 Units)

This course explores the challenges our population faces from health risks from environmental hazards, and our role in their creation and exacerbation. Students will explore the meaning of environmental health and the wealth of human health threats posed through factors in air, food, water, climate, and the built environment. The class will provide an overview of the main tools used in the field of environmental health to understand, quantify, and minimize these health risks. Case studies from domestic and international examples will be used to illustrate variations in risk with differences in exposure pathway, mode of action, susceptibility, and regulation. Close attention will be paid to exposure distribution as it relates to social inequity and injustice. Students will examine their own role in the globalized economy of today, and look for opportunities to improve on the future prognosis of environmental health.

Semester II - Spring

PASC 602A Clinical Applications I (5 Units)

This is part 1 of a 4-part lecture and laboratory course series designed to teach the techniques for performing and documenting complete and competent history and physical examinations.

PASC 602B Pharmacology I (3 Units)

This is part 1 of a 3-part lecture course and will focus on presenting the mechanism of action, indications, contraindications, side effects, bioavailability, metabolism, and toxic and therapeutic levels of a variety of medications. This course is sequenced with Medicine I so that PA students will gain a greater understanding regarding the management of the disease states and conditions presented in the Medicine course, including pharmacologic considerations when treating culturally, economically and racially diverse populations.

PASC 602F Clinical Pathophysiology and Diagnostic Studies I (3 Units)

This is the companion course to the Medicine series. It will focus on the pathophysiology related to specific organ systems covered in the Medicine courses, as well as how to order and interpret diagnostic studies such as labs and x-rays to assist in the diagnosis and management of illness in the following systems: Renal & Urinary Tract, Cardiovascular, Endocrine, and Hematology-Oncology.

PASC 602G Medicine I (5.5 Units)

Medicine is one of several cornerstone courses in the MSPAS curriculum. This course spans 3 didactic terms and will focus on specific organ systems during each semester. For each system the epidemiology, physiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnostic studies and treatment approaches will be presented and discussed. The focus of Medicine I is to provide PA students with core knowledge and concepts for effectively and appropriately approaching and managing patients with common illnesses, diseases and conditions seen in the following systems: Nephrology, Cardiovascular, Endocrine, and Hematology-Oncology.

PASC 602H Topics in PA Practice II (1.5 Units)

Topics in Physician Assistant Practice II is the second course in the three-part series. The focus this term is on providing care for under-resourced, vulnerable, and diverse patient populations, including those from underserved communities, patients with disabilities, and patients from different cultures. We will also cover human trafficking, child and elderly abuse, and inter-partner violence. The course includes cultural considerations in patient care, health disparities, and the PA as a health educator. Students will complete a module on providing culturally sensitive care and undergo Safe Zone training to learn about LGBTQ+ identities, gender and sexuality, and examine prejudice, assumptions, and privilege. Finally, the course provides students with an understanding of the patient/provider dynamic and the role of personal and professional reflection in the practice of medicine enabling them to practice in a compassionate and skillful manner.

PBHC 618 Epidemiology 45 (3 Units)

This course introduces the basic principles and methods of epidemiology and demonstrates its applicability in the field of public health. Topics to be covered include the historical perspective of epidemiology, ethics in epidemiology, measures of disease occurrence and association, study design, screening for disease in a population, causal inference, error, bias, and confounding. Students will learn to evaluate and interpret epidemiological literature.

PBHC 619 Research Methods 15 (1.5 Units)

This is a course in interdisciplinary research methodologies widely used in the social sciences and public health prevention studies and introduces social theory, conducting a literature review, framing research questions, research design, data collection and/or conducting fieldwork, and analyzing or interpreting research findings for presentation in a report or thesis. The course will address mixed methods, and qualitative data collection and analytical techniques. Students will learn how to identify an area of interest, formulate research questions, conduct a research method, and identify the appropriate data collection and analysis strategy.


Public Health Courses, Choose One (3 Units)

PBHC 614 Essentials of Global Health (3 Units)

This course introduces students to the field of global public health with an emphasis on the developing world. The course orients students to the skills necessary for understanding patterns and illness in resource-poor countries. It explores the continuum between health and sickness in populations around the world and emphasizes the influence of both global and domestic factors in contributing to variation in health. Students are introduced to the major health problems currently impacting the developing world and alerted to the importance of a global approach to solving these health problems. Additionally, they will be introduced to the major players in international health: the donor communities, Ministries of Health, and UN agencies.

PBHC 620 Social Inequities in Health (3 Units)

This course will examine the contextual factors of primary health care and health disparities within the US. Current trends will be described and discussed utilizing case study methodology to examine health indicators among the US population. Students will gain an increased understanding of the impact of current trends such as increased negative health outcomes among minority and underserved populations. Students will have an increased understanding of the complexities associated with addressing health disparities in the United States. Issues of community-organizing, community partnerships, empowerment, and community participation and their relevance in public health strategies, interventions, and policymaking efforts that address health disparities will also be examined.

PBHC 633 Criminal Justice and Public Health (3 Units)

This course will provide students with an overview of the intersection between the criminal justice system and public health. Students will gain an understanding of how U.S. mass incarceration is a public health issue. Topics will include the history and philosophy of incarceration, criminal justice and policy, health issues in prisons, women and incarceration, reintegration after incarceration, the impacts of incarceration on families and communities, prevention, restorative justice, juvenile justice, disability justice, as well as institutional racism, police violence, mass incarceration, and the collateral consequences of incarceration.

Semester III - Summer

PASC 603A Clinical Applications II (1 Unit)

This is the 2nd in a 4-part series that builds on Clinical Applications I. Systems-based problem-oriented history and physical exam skills are expanded, focusing on clinical problem solving and effective communication, as well as assessment and management of commonly encountered disorders in primary care.

PASC 603B Pharmacology II (1 Unit)

This course builds on Pharmacology I. It is sequenced with Medicine II so that PA students will gain a greater understanding regarding the management of the disease states and conditions presented in the Medicine II, Psychiatry, and MCH I course, including pharmacologic considerations when treating culturally, economically and racially diverse populations.

PASC 603D Maternal Child Health I (1 Unit)

This is part 1 of a 2-part series focusing on the obstetric patient, covering the progression of pregnancy from conception to birth.

PASC 603E Psychiatry for Primary Care (1.5 Units)

This course will focus on the spectrum of psychiatric conditions and illnesses covering Mood Disorders, Eating Disorders, Somatic and Symptom Related Disorders, Violence and Suicide, Schizophrenia, Anxiety, Personality Disorders, and Substance Abuse and Addiction.

PASC 603F Clinical Pathophysiology and Diagnostic Studies II (0.5 Units)

This is the 2nd in the 3-part series. It will focus on pathophysiology related to specific organ systems as well as how to order and interpret diagnostic studies such as labs and x-rays to assist in diagnosis of illness. The focus of the course is specifically to provide PA students with core knowledge and concepts in the following system: Pulmonology.

PASC 603G Medicine II (3 Units)

This is the 2nd in the 3-part series. The focus of Medicine II specifically is to provide PA students with core knowledge and concepts for effectively and appropriately approaching and managing patients with common illnesses, diseases and conditions seen in the following systems: EENT and Pulmonology.


Public Health Courses, Choose One (3 Units)

PBHC 602 Emerging Health Threats (3 Units)

Emerging bacterial, protozoal, and viral diseases represent an increasing threat to human health. This course aims to examine the impact of emerging and re-emerging disease agents which affect public health in the United States and worldwide. More specifically, this course will explore the challenges and strategies public health professionals will face in the diagnosis, prevention, control and surveillance of emerging health threats. This course will highlight the role of person, time and place in specific emerging health threats such as Malaria, Ebola, West Nile Virus, Influenza, MRSA, and Tuberculosis among many others.

PBHC 606 Community Health Promotion (3 Units)

This course is designed to provide an introductory understanding of the basic concepts, skills, models and resources currently utilized in the field of health education and promotion. The course will assist health care providers and public health professionals to holistically approach their work and acquire the essential tools to deliver information and strategies to improve health with a focus on underserved populations. Through lectures, weekly readings, assignments, in-class discussions/presentations, guest lectures from local public health experts and Community Health Promotion Work Practice, students will explore various approaches to community-based health promotion. We will explore how these approaches connect efforts to promote social justice and to end health disparities.

PBHC 634 Criminal Justice Law and Public Health Advocacy (3 units)

This course will provide students with a foundation in constitutional law and civic education while focusing on a wide range of important issues in public health law, regulations, and the factors at play when developing advocacy strategies on issues that intersect public health and the criminal justice system. Students will gain an understanding of seminal and precedent-setting public health law cases that have led to policy reform in incarceration, prevention, correctional health, and reentry health.

Semester IV - Fall

PASC 604A Clinical Applications III (3 Units)

3rd part of a 4-part series that continues to integrate the knowledge obtained in program coursework. Content parallels the Medicine course as much as feasible.

PASC 604B Pharmacology III (3 Units)

This builds on pharmacology I & II. It is sequenced with Medicine III so that PA students will gain a greater understanding regarding the management of the disease pharmacologic considerations when treating culturally, economically and racially diverse populations.

PASC 604D Maternal Child Health II (3 Units)

This is part 2 of a 2-part series continuing from birth through to infancy, early and middle childhood and, finally, adolescence. It focuses on newborns, the pediatric H&P, well child visits and screening, and commonly encountered pediatric disorders in primary care.

PASC 604E Emergency Medicine (2 Units)

This course is designed to provide the PA student with an overview of common life-threatening or urgent medical conditions seen in the Emergency Department or Urgent Care Center. This includes the prompt recognition and triage of life-threatening conditions and their immediate management and/or stabilization. It builds upon and fosters integration of information from previous courses such as Medicine, Clinical Applications, Psychiatry for Primary Care, and Pharmacology, stressing the presentation and management of common problems in an emergent setting.

PASC 604F Clinical Pathophysiology and Diagnostic Studies III (1.5 Units)

This is the 3rd and final course in the 3-part series. It will focus on pathophysiology related to specific organ systems as well as how to order and interpret diagnostic studies such as labs and x-rays to assist in diagnosis of illness. The focus of the course is specifically to provide PA students with core knowledge and concepts in the following system: Gastroenterology, Neurology and Genitourinary and Reproductive Disorders.

PASC 604G Medicine III (7 Units)

This is the 3rd and final component in the 3-part series. The focus of Medicine III is to specifically provide PA students with core knowledge and concepts for effectively and appropriately approaching and managing patients with common illnesses, diseases and conditions seen in the following systems: Genitourinary and Reproductive Health, Musculoskeletal-Rheumatology, Neurology, Dermatology, and Gastroenterology.

PBHC 647 Program Evaluation and Needs Assessment (3 Units)

This course serves as an introduction to evaluation methodology and evaluation tools commonly used to assess programs. Students will become familiar with the concepts, methods, and applications of program evaluation and will be able to propose an appropriate evaluation plan to assess the implementation and effectiveness of a program. This course also explores community health needs assessment methods. Emphasis is placed on methods for ensuring data integrity by exploring data collection, maintenance and dissemination. Instructional techniques will include traditional lectures to highlight course readings and provide practical examples of “real life” program evaluation experiences. Students will also regularly work in small groups to reinforce course concepts from readings and lectures.

PASC 603 Medical Spanish for Health Professionals (1 Unit Elective)

This elective course is designed for intermediate-level Spanish-speaking PA students who wish to broaden their vocabulary skills while using practical situational Spanish. The content of this course focuses on language used in the medical encounter as well as cultural situations that PAs may experience in practice. Students will gain knowledge of medical Spanish terms, cultural aspects of medicine, and confidence in using both spoken and written Spanish.

Semester V - Spring

PASC 605A Clinical Applications IV (2 Units)

This is the 4th and final component of a 4-part series that will review previous material covered in Medicine, Pharmacology, Clinical Pathophysiology, and prior Clinical Applications courses. This course also includes transitional topics appropriate for PA students entering clinical rotations.

PASC 605B Surgical Principles and Technical Skills (2 Units)

This course will present the basics of surgical principles as well as the proper and acceptable techniques for performing the common clinical skills necessary for a PA in an emergency room, operating room, and primary care setting.

PASC 605C Geriatrics 15 (1 Unit)

This course focuses on the basic principles of geriatrics: geriatrics assessment/syndromes, prevention/screening, mental health, as well as the common clinical issues associated with the elderly: polypharmacy, cardiology, musculoskeletal/pain disorders, urinary tract health, and cognition/sleep. This course also emphasizes preventative health care, chronic management services and consultations. Anticipatory guidance, the Advanced Care Directive/ POLST, Medicare, grief and bereavement, and caregiver’s respite will also be reviewed.

PASC 605H Topics in PA Practice III (1 Unit)

This course assists PA students with the transition from the didactic to clinical year. Additionally, it is designed to lay the groundwork for a successful clinical year. This course will include instruction in: The rules and regulations of the clinical year, Billing and Coding concepts, CA laws and regulations surrounding PA practice and student role, Preceptor/ student relationship, roles and expectations, Legal aspects of healthcare, Feedback formats, Joint Commission patient safety guidelines, Professionalism, Time management, Study techniques on clinical rotations.

PBHC 646 *CPH Exam Preparation (0 Units)

Students who enroll in PBHC 646 are required to take the Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam sponsored by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Students register for the 1-unit TUC course PBHC 646 CPH Exam Preparation and also register with the National Board of Public Health Examiners (www.nbphe.org) for the Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam. Students must register for PBHC 646 in the same semester in which they take the CPH exam - following the completion of core and concentration courses. Students must pass the CPH exam to pass PH 646. The Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam covers the core areas of knowledge offered in CEPH-accredited schools and programs, as well as crosscutting areas relevant to contemporary public health. The examination was crafted to assess a person’s knowledge of these competencies, regardless of his or her academic concentration.

Clinical Year Rotations Begin

You must complete all rotations listed below, but the order in which you complete them may be different than how it is outlined below. Assignment of rotations is the responsibility of the Director of Clinical Education, Clinical Coordinator, and the PA/MPH Program. You are not required to develop or arrange your own clinical sites. You will have the opportunity to request rotation assignments and recommend potential preceptor sites through the Student Preceptor/Rotation Request Form.

PASC 606 Primary Care 1 (6 Units)

Required rotation where PA students will be placed in an outpatient and/or inpatient setting, with a provider practicing in family medicine and/or internal medicine to obtain exposure to the principles of these primary care specialties. This may include experience with patients across the life span seeking care for preventive, emergent, acute, and chronic conditions, women’s health and mental health conditions.

PASC 607 Primary Care 2 (6 Units)

Required rotation where PA students will be placed in an outpatient and/or inpatient setting, with a provider practicing in family medicine and/or internal medicine to obtain exposure to the principles of these primary care specialties. This may include experience with patients across the life span seeking care for preventive, emergent, acute, and chronic conditions, women’s health and mental health conditions.

Semester VI - Summer

PASC 608 Primary Care 3 (6 Units)

Required rotation where PA students will be placed in an outpatient and/or inpatient setting, with a provider practicing in family medicine, internal medicine and/or behavioral and mental health, to provide experience with geriatric patients and/or those patients seeking care for behavioral and mental health conditions.

PASC 609 Primary Care 4 (6 Units)

Required rotation where PA students will be placed in an outpatient and/or inpatient setting, with a provider practicing in family medicine, women’s health and/or pediatrics to obtain experience in these primary care specialty areas. This includes experience with patients seeking care for pediatric and/or women’s health conditions.

Semester VII

PASC 610 Surgery (6 Units)

Required rotation where PA students will be placed in a surgery rotation to obtain experience with patients seeking care for conditions requiring surgical management, including pre-operative, intra-operative, and postoperative care.

PASC 611 Emergency Medicine (6 Units)

Required rotation where PA students will be placed in a hospital-based emergency room to provide experience with patients seeking care for acute and emergent issues.

PASC 612 Elective 1 (6 Units)

PA students in good academic standing will be given the opportunity to complete a rotation in a specialty of their choice.

Semester VIII

PASC 613 Elective 2 (6 Units)

PA students in good academic standing will be given the opportunity to complete a rotation in a specialty of their choice.

PASC 614 MSPAS Summative Course (3 Units)

This course is designed to provide the PA student with a review of the PA Program curriculum to prepare them to enter clinical practice as well as education related to PA practice issues. It allows a summative assessment of the student’s readiness to graduate and enter clinical practice.

PBHC 600-4 Public Health Field Study (4 Units)

The Public Health Field Study course is a structured and practical experience in a professional public health setting which allows students to apply and integrate the knowledge and skills acquired during the didactic period into public health practice. Joint and Dual degree students are required to complete 200 hours for PBHC-4 during a 6-week block. There are three concentrations available: Community Health, Global Health, and Health Equity and Criminal Justice. Through the Field Study, students apply their academic knowledge to “real world” situations that address public health issues. Students conduct field work as interns at public health organizations, which serve as field study placement sites. The role of the MPH student intern is to assist partnering organizations with specific public health projects, locally and abroad. Student participation should contribute to strategic resolutions, be valued by the Organization, and contribute to meeting its mission and goals. Through their field work, students help to build and strengthen working partnerships between field study placement sites and TUC.

PBHC 645 *MPH Capstone Project (0 Units)

Students conducting a Capstone project produce a substantial, original, independently written manuscript concerning a significant public health problem and share and defend their work during an oral presentation. The goal of the Capstone project should be to create a body of knowledge on which others can build. However, the overarching principle for determining suitability of a Capstone project is whether it provides students the opportunity to apply the skills and competencies acquired in the MPH program to a problem likely to be encountered in public health practice. All Capstone projects will be conducted under the guidance of a faculty advisor, secondary faculty advisor, and the course coordinator.

*Students will take either PBHC 646 in Semester V or PBHC 645 in Semester VIII.