WRITER: DAN MC MILLAN
CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSEN
2130 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8032; fax (319) 335-8034
Director of Iowa Department of Public Health to lead new UI center
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The director of the Iowa Department of Public Health
will join the faculty of the University of Iowa to lead a newly formed
center within the UI's proposed School of Public Health.
Christopher Atchison, who has directed the health department
since 1991, will become director of the Iowa Center for Public Health Practice.
The center will coordinate the School of Public Health's outreach and continuing
education programs, including community-based practicums in public health,
which are required to earn a Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree.
Atchison is expected to begin work at the UI around March 1.
"Chris brings a unique combination of leadership and experience
in the area of public health practice," observed James Merchant, M.D.,
Dr.P.H., UI professor and head of the department of preventive medicine
and environmental health. "His first-hand knowledge of issues in the
public health arena, his rapport with public health practitioners throughout
Iowa, and his leadership at both the state and national levels will make
him an outstanding director for this new center and greatly enhance public
health training at the University of Iowa."
Atchison's move to the UI also won praise from Gov. Tom Vilsack.
"The state of Iowa has been very fortunate to have Chris serve
as health director for almost eight years," noted Vilsack. "I
am pleased that he will continue to serve the state of Iowa and that he
will be doing outstanding work on behalf of the University of Iowa's Public
Health Initiative, which is one of my priorities for improving the health
of all Iowans."
Atchison said his new role at the UI will allow him to remain involved
in shaping the future of public health in Iowa.
"Public health has always represented community based efforts to
improve health and prevent disease," he said. "This new initiative
at the University of Iowa will help advance those efforts through solid
research and active support of community efforts. I look forward to continuing
my work on behalf of public health with the many fine health professionals
around the state who have already been involved, and I look forward to
helping acquaint the next generation of health professionals with the benefits
to Iowa's quality of life that professional public health practice brings."
The School of Public Health is the primary component within the UI's
Public Health Initiative. Gov. Vilsack's proposed budget recommends $1
million in fiscal year 2000 to establish the school and fund a companion
program, the Health and Independence of Elderly Iowans. If supported by
the legislature, funds would be used to recruit faculty, develop an expanded
public health curriculum, and provide statewide distance learning opportunities.
In December the Regents approved the university's plan to develop the
M.P.H. degree. Applications are being accepted for the approximately 20
positions available beginning in the fall semester of 1999. For further
information about the M.P.H. program, inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to: Program Director, 2800 Steindler Building, Department of Preventive
Medicine and Environmental Health, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa