Advanced Public Health Nursing (APHN)

The Advanced Public Health Nursing (APHN) specialty area provides a foundation for planning and evaluating community/public health programs; learning about community/public health concepts, health promotion, population-level interventions, grant writing, health care systems, leadership, and health policy; addressing health disparities of vulnerable and diverse populations; and practicing and consulting in diverse and multicultural settings. This is not a clinical specialty and involves no individual level patient care.

Advanced practice nurses in this specialty understand the complex interactions between health and the social determinants of health to maintain or improve the health of diverse, vulnerable, and underserved populations and communities. Practice settings include public health departments, schools and universities, parishes and faith-based programs, home care, rural health, refugee/immigrant clinics, primary care clinics, jails and prisons, ambulatory outpatient facilities, voluntary organizations, and a variety of community, public and private agencies and organizations.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has retired all certifications provided via portfolio review. They are only processing renewals. Effective November 2017, this included the Advanced Public Health Nursing (PHNA-BC) certification by portfolio.


The curriculum plan is available in the following PDF document:

Other Information

  • Career Opportunities for Advanced Public Health Nurses: APHNcareers.pdf
  • MPH vs MS in Nursing - The degree that is offered is a Master of Science (MS) in Nursing; this is the same as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. There might be an opportunity to apply competitively to the University of California, Berkeley for a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at the same time that you apply for a MS degree at the University of California, San Francisco. The MS degree incorporates public health science as well as nursing science. It educates and prepares you for an advanced practice nurse role. The MPH degree incorporates public health science without direct clinical practice and application. When you graduate from the MS degree program, you can use your coursework and clinical residency hours toward the national credential, PHNA-BC, board certified in advanced public health nursing (

Our Partners

  • San Francisco Department of Public Health
  • Alameda County Department of Public Health
  • Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center
  • Excelsior Community Center
  • Larkin Street Youth Services
  • Tenderloin Safe Passage
  • And others...

Department: Community Health Systems

Coordinator: Carol Dawson-Rose, RN, PhD, FAAN

Carol Dawson-Rose, RN, PhD, FAAN
Van Park, PhD, MPH
Catherine Waters, RN, PhD, FAAN
Orlando Harris, PhD, RN, FNP, MPH

Contact: [email protected]