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Applications to School Up, New Class Exceptional


When Amy Brown took a statistical methods class in college and developed an interest in quantitative methods, a professor asked her if she’d ever considered going into public health. It seemed a logical choice: “I was also interested in helping under-served populations,” Brown said. 

As a new master of health sciences (MHS) student in the Department of International Health, Brown was one of 325 new students at the three-day orientation at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health beginning August 30. 

Those 325 students numbered 34 fewer than last year’s class. The decrease was not due to a lack of interest. On the contrary: Applications for the 2004-05 class were up over 7 percent from last year’s 2,384, and up 26 percent from 2002-03.  

“We have been even more selective in the students we have admitted this year,” said Robert Hradsky, assistant dean for student affairs. “Having a larger applicant pool to choose from allows us to select the cream of the crop.”

According to the Association of Schools of Public Health, applications to schools of public health are up nationwide: 6.9 percent from 2002-03 to 2003-04. (Figures for this year aren’t yet available.) 

Brown says she chose Hopkins because of the rankings and because the School has a practice-based orientation in addition to a research one. 

Nagesh Borse, a new PhD student in the Disease Control and Prevention track in International Health, was accepted at Tulane and Harvard as well as the Bloomberg School. He says he came to Baltimore on the recommendation of a former Bloomberg  professor and because he was impressed by the collaboration between the Bloomberg School and the World Health Organization in Geneva. 

“This year’s class is exceptional,” said Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS, Dean of the Bloomberg School. “The various procedures put into place over the past three to eight years to better educate prospective students about the wonderful opportunities at the School continue to bear fruit.”

The new Hopkins Sommer Scholars program is expected to draw even more stellar applicants. Beginning with the 2005-2006 school year, up to 15 new master’s and up to 15 new PhD students selected for this elite program will have their tuition paid and receive a stipend. 

“We hope the Sommer Scholars program will ensure that the most promising future public health leaders will come to the School, and that it will attract outstanding individuals who might never have thought about a career in public health,” said Sommer. “Our main concern is not the quantity of applicants or students, but ensuring that we keep attracting the very best.” --Kristi Birch