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Release: April 21, 1999

UI to establish new College of Public Health

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa will establish a College of Public Health, the first new college at the UI since 1949, following approval Wednesday by the State Board of Regents.

Establishing the college would involve the transition of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, based in the UI College of Medicine, into the College of Public Health. Under the proposal, James Merchant, M.D., Dr.P.H., professor and head of the department, would become dean of the new college. New faculty positions are planned to help establish a Department of Community and Behavioral Health in the college and to strengthen the existing divisions of biostatistics, epidemiology, occupational and environmental health, and health management and policy.

The College of Public Health will offer a master of public health (M.P.H.) degree as well as a non-degree certificate in public health. The college will educate and train Iowa's current and future health care professionals, serve as a statewide public health resource, promote public health prevention and research, and provide outreach services to all Iowans.

"Establishment of this new College of Public Health will strengthen a great many academic and research programs across campus at the University of Iowa," said Robert P. Kelch, M.D., dean of the UI College of Medicine. "It will also be an opportunity for new collaborative efforts involving the other regents' institutions and public health practitioners throughout Iowa."

The College of Public Health is the centerpiece of the university's Public Health Initiative (PHI), which also includes the Health and Independence of Elderly Iowans Program, a proposal designed to research health issues and develop programs addressing the state's growing elderly population.

The new college would join the UI Graduate College, Henry B. Tippie College of Business and the UI Colleges of Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Law, Liberal Arts, Medicine, Pharmacy and Nursing, the last college established in 1949.