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Release: June 28, 1999

UI College of Public Health aims to be statewide public health resource

NOTE TO EDITORS: The UI College of Public Health Founding Day Breakfast will be from 8 to 10 a.m. July 1 in the Seebohm Conference Room (283 Eckstein Medical Research Building) on the University of Iowa health sciences campus. Faculty researchers from areas identified below will be available for comments.

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- When the University of Iowa inaugurates its first new college in 50 years with the establishment of the College of Public Health on July 1, it won't just be creating another academic unit. The new college will be a statewide resource for the study and practice of public health.

Establishing the new college involves the transition of the department of preventive medicine and environmental health, based in the UI College of Medicine, into the College of Public Health. Collegiate status will promote interdisciplinary activities that characterize public health and strengthen the university's traditional emphasis on campus-wide collaborations.

"With its interdisciplinary nature, this new college is founded upon one of the historic strengths of the University of Iowa," observed UI Provost Jon Whitmore. "Its faculty are involved in many projects that cut across traditional boundaries to form partnerships with colleagues on this campus and other Regents' institutions."

The college faculty's research focuses include aging, birth defects, cancer, environmental health, heart disease, health policy, injury prevention and women's health. Iowa's Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, a partnership involving the UI, Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the Iowa Department of Public Health, is headquartered in the college, as well.

There are high hopes and equally high expectations as the new college prepares for its first academic year, according to James Merchant, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the College of Public Health.

"This is an exciting time for the faculty of the College of Public Health," noted Merchant. "We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the College of Medicine, and we are optimistic about the many new opportunities for interaction all across the campus and statewide."

Beginning this fall, the College of Public Health will offer the master of public health (M.P.H.) degree, the primary professional degree in public health. Beginning in the fall 2000 semester, a non-degree certificate in public health will be available statewide via distance learning.

In addition to the new M.P.H. degree, the college will continue to offer the master of science, master of health administration, and doctoral degree programs previously administered by the department of preventive medicine and environmental health. Approximately 175 graduate students are enrolled in these existing programs.

The College of Public Health is the first new college at the university since the College of Nursing was established in 1949. It joins the UI Graduate College, Henry B. Tippie College of Business and the UI colleges of dentistry, education, engineering, law, liberal arts, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy.