Maintaining high standards of public health requires effective management of environmental issues and care services and, therefore, is something which concerns both the government and the private sector.
With this in mind, the Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences and the Department of Biology at Hong Kong Baptist University are jointly offering an MSc in environmental and public health management (EPHM). The interdisciplinary programme takes a practical approach and incorporates management skills, as well as a broad spectrum of technical aspects.
"Students are taught how to communicate effectively about the environment, public health risks, food quality and safety," says assistant professor Chung Shan Shan. "The programme also covers topics such as environmental economics and policy, land and water resources, and waste management, thus keeping abreast of issues regarding sustainable systems."
The MSc is designed primarily for civil servants, health professionals, executives in managerial capacities, engineers and architects, whose work involves knowledge of environmental quality and public health. Various courses deal with international certifications, such as HACCP (hazard analysis and citical control point), the ISO: 14001 Environmental Management System and OHSAS 18001:1999, which relates to occupational health and safety systems. An understanding of these certification schemes is essential for professionals who need to ensure compliance with environmental, food safety, and health and safety standards and monitor the performance of subordinates.
The EPHM programme also helps career advancement, particularly in government departments where a relevant qualification is a prerequisite for further promotion.
Some business people are attracted by the fact that they can learn about the latest international standards, something which is becoming necessary when applying for government tenders or bidding for major contracts. Other professionals benefit from the opportunity to enhance their skills in areas such as enterprise, environmental, health and safety system management and maintaining the standards required for external audits.
All classes take place on weekday evenings and there is built-in flexibility, allowing full-time students to complete the course in one year and those who prefer the part-time mode to complete it in two.
"The MSc dissertation requires the application of project management theory and standard research methodologies," adds Dr Chung. "It provides students with the required leadership training in skills for independent problem-solving, management and the ability to analyse situations."
The Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences was established to contribute to scientific developments in Hong Kong. "There are various educational initiatives developed by the institute and the research work here is geared towards environmental improvements," says Dr Chung. "We also do consultancy work for government departments and private organisations, which helps in addressing some major community issues."