NAU’s Interdisciplinary Health Policy Institute soon will be offering a graduate certificate to help enhance public health-care options.

“There are many complex factors that influence health and the environment,” said Bill Wiist, certificate director and the special assistant to the dean in the College of Health and Human Services. “The perspective of many different disciplines is necessary to understand those factors and to plan effective policy to do something about them. The certificate draws upon courses from nine NAU departments.”

The new Interdisciplinary Health Policy Graduate certificate, offered beginning in fall 2009, will focus on providing students information about the societal and individual factors that form health policies.

Students will study how to analyze policies, write policy, influence policy makers and advocate for change in their community or their country, Wiist said.

“NAU graduates need to know how to protect human health and the natural environment from factors that are outside of a single individual’s control and that have to be controlled through policies,” he added.

NAU established the Interdisciplinary Health Policy Institute last year following a needs and feasibility study identifying the need for a graduate certificate and an emphasis on interdisciplinary health policy.