University News

Public health school closer to realization

By
Staff Writer
Friday, September 18, 2009

Plans are moving forward to establish a self-sufficient school of public health within the University, according to Fox Wetle, associate dean of medicine for public health and public policy.

The University is working to gain accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health to expand the current master’s in public health program into a Brown School of Public Health. Brown has only offered a master’s in public health since 2002, but plans for the school of public health have been in the works for at least eight years, Wetle said.

The school would be based on a three-part mission: to conduct research that will be translated into improved policy, to train and educate future generations of researchers and public health officials and to assist organizations in public health practice and policies.

“We have a very broad service mission as well as our research mission,” Wetle said.

The accreditation criteria include the size and specialization of faculty members. By the end of this year, Wetle said, the University hopes to fill 17 new tenure-track positions approved in 2004 by the Corporation.

Funding for the school has been coming through various means, both internal and external. “Much of the cost is being paid through graduate student tuition, external funding through grants and contracts and philanthropy,” Wetle said.

Wetle said Brown has not scheduled any additional construction for the school, but plans for it to be located at 121 S. Main St., the current location of the master’s in public health program.

Though the completion of the school will continue to depend on the University’s budget, Wetle said she hopes it will be established in the next couple of years.

“We’re making good progress,” she said.