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Release: March 30, 1999

Community meeting on UI's Public Health Initiative is April 1 in Ames

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Residents of Ames and the surrounding area who are interested in public health and public health distance learning opportunities are invited to meet with a representative from the University of Iowa on Thursday, April 1 to discuss the university's Public Health Initiative (PHI).

The meeting, scheduled to take place in the Youth Room at Youth and Shelter Services from 10 to 11:30 a.m., is open to the public. Youth and Shelter Services is located at 420 Kellogg Ave. in Ames. The local hosts for the meeting will be Maureen Harter of Youth and Shelter Services, Deb Sellers of HOMEWARD and Pat Hildebrand of Mid-Iowa Community Action Agency.

The UI representatives will be James Merchant, M.D., Dr.P.H., professor and department head, and Douglas Wakefield, Ph.D., professor and director of the health management and policy division, both in the UI department of preventive medicine and environmental health.

Under the PHI, a new College of Public Health would be formed 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 PHI, and Gov. Tom Vilsack included funding for it in his proposed budget, which is currently before the Iowa General Assembly.