Certificate in Health Equity

This certificate is supported by the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences


The Field of Health Equity

The concept of equity encompasses fairness and justice.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (US DHHS) says that “health equity entails special efforts to improve the health of those who have experienced social or economic disadvantage.” Further, the US DHHS emphasizes addressing not only health care, but also the social and economic conditions that have an impact on health.  Equity means that all people can attain their full health potential.
Closely linkded to the definition of health equity is the definition of health inequity or disparity.  The DHHS, in its Healthy People 2020 initiative, has said that "[a] health disparity is a particular type of health difference that is closely linkded with social or economic disadvantage."


Health Equity Graduate Certificate Program (HEGCP) 

One of the few health equity certificate programs in Schools of Public Health across the country, the HEGCP is a 15 credit graduate program.  There are four required core courses that need to be sequenced.  The additional required five credits can come from a variety of elective courses within the Graduate School of Public Health and the University.

Program Goals

  • Develop professionals with an understanding of the root causes of health inequities
  • Increase the cultural competence of public health and other professionals
  • Equip public health professionals with appropriate methods of research and intervention in health inequities
  • Provide an interdisciplinary vehicle through which students can pursue and strengthen their individual career interests relevant to health equity


Required Courses (required sequencing in parentheses)

BCHS 2554     Introduction to Community Health (1st or 2nd course)

BCHS 2524     Overview of Health Equity (1st or 2nd course)

BCHS 2526*     Health Equity Research and Practice (3rd course)

BCHS 2528     Health Equity Integrative Seminar (4th course)

*Students may substitute a methods course from within their Public Health discipline

Qualificaitons for Admission

Similar to any MPH at Pitt Public Health


Who should apply?

1.     Current Pitt Public Health students

2.     University of Pittsburgh graduate students in related disciplines (i.e. health sciences, social work)

3.     Publc health and human service professionals with degrees in other fields


Career Prospects

This certificate is valuable to professionals with existing credentials in their respective fields. Additionally, increasing numbers of health and human service organizations, local, state and federal agencies are creating offices of health equity, offices of minority health, and other institutional components dedicated to the elimination of health disparities. Students earning this certificate may serve as experts in national organizations or as senior staff in community-based organizations.


For More Information 

Tiffany L. Gary-Webb, PhD, MHS

Associate Professor and Director, Health Equity Certificate Program, tgary@pitt.edu