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Release: Immediate

Community meeting on Public Health Initiative scheduled in Council Bluffs

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Residents of Council Bluffs and the surrounding area who are interested in public health and public health distance learning opportunities are invited to meet with representatives from the University of Iowa Monday, Feb. 22 to discuss the university's Public Health Initiative.

The meeting, scheduled to take place at the Council Bluffs Community Health Center (CHC) from 10 to 11:30 a.m., is open to the public. The CHC is located at 300 W. Broadway in Council Bluffs. The local host for the meeting will be Jay Gabb, executive director of the CHC.

The UI representatives will be James Merchant, M.D., Dr.P.H., professor and head of preventive medicine and environmental health, and Christopher Atchison, director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. Atchison was recently named to direct the UI's newly formed Center for Public Health Practice, duties he will assume in March.

Under the Public Health Initiative, a new School of Public Health would be developed at the UI and new public health educational opportunities would be made available in local communities throughout Iowa via distance learning. For the first time in Iowa, students will be able to pursue a master of public health degree as well as a non-degree certificate in public health.

In 1998 the Iowa Board of Regents approved the Public Health Initiative and Gov. Tom Vilsack included funding for it in his proposed budget, which is currently before the Iowa General Assembly.