IU reaches milestone toward establishing schools of public health in Bloomington and Indianapolis
July 12, 2012
- Margie Smith-Simmons
- Mark Land
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The Council on Education for Public Health, an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and public health programs, has approved Indiana University's request to begin the accreditation process for a School of Public Health at IU Bloomington and one at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
The council's approval is the latest step in a journey to create schools of public health on IU's two largest campuses that began in 2009 when President Michael A. McRobbie announced the plans in response to the significant public health needs in the state of Indiana. The IU Board of Trustees approved creation of the schools in June 2011, and the Indiana Commission on Higher Education gave its approval in October 2011.
"As a state, Indiana ranks in the bottom quartile for most public health metrics, with some of the most morbid health indices in the country," said Edwin Marshall, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs and chair of the IU Public Health Coordinating Council. "The Council on Education for Public Health's recent action represents a significant milestone in IU's progress toward establishing two accredited schools of public health and will allow IU to mobilize and leverage existing resources to address critical public health programs in the state."
The schools of public health will address population health through instruction, research and services, and will offer study in at least five core areas: biostatistics; epidemiology; environmental health sciences; health services administration; and social and behavioral sciences. Both schools will offer undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs.
The IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, currently named the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, will have a rural community focus that will emphasize its strengths in social and behavioral health, environmental health sciences, epidemiology and community-based research and practice.
"This is a monumental time in the evolutionary history of our school. The School of Public Health-Bloomington, now with a broader mission, is committed to preventing disease and premature death, and promoting health, wellness and quality of life as well as reducing skyrocketing health care costs for our fellow citizens," said Mohammed Torabi, interim dean of the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. "I believe the public health of the state will be better off because of the two new schools of public health. President McRobbie and his cabinet deserve tremendous credit for this historic achievement."
The new IU School of Public Health-Indianapolis will focus more on urban health, health policy, biostatistics and epidemiology, with strong connections to the IU School of Medicine, as well as the other health sciences schools on the IUPUI campus.
"This is a truly historic moment for Indiana University and the state of Indiana. Establishing a new IU School of Public Health on the IUPUI campus will allow the faculty, staff and students to improve the health of Hoosiers in Indianapolis and beyond by working closely with local and state public health leaders," said Eric R. Wright, interim chair of the Department of Public Health in the IU School of Medicine. "We are deeply grateful to President McRobbie, Vice President Marshall and Chancellor Bantz for their unwavering support and for championing the importance of public health for the state of Indiana."
With the Council on Education for Public Health's approval, the university will now begin the accreditation process, which is expected to take up to two years to complete. As part of the process, each school must undertake a self-study and submit the results to the council by June 2014, after which a team of peer reviewers will visit both schools.
The university plans ceremonies on both the Bloomington and Indianapolis campuses in September to formally recognize the formation of the each new School of Public Health.