Last modified: Tuesday, May 5, 2009
IU will create public health schools on two campuses
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In response to long-standing public health needs in Indiana, Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie today announced a plan that calls for the formation of two schools of public health, one at IU Bloomington and the other at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
It is expected that the new school at IU Bloomington will be based on the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, the third-largest school on campus, and will focus more on rural health issues, general wellness and other areas that build on the existing strengths of HPER. The school at IUPUI will grow from the Department of Public Health in the School of Medicine and is expected to focus more on urban health issues.
"Indiana traditionally ranks poorly regarding major public health benchmarks, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. While there are no simple solutions for these societal challenges, I believe the existence of strong and engaged schools of public health in Indiana would be a major step in the right direction," McRobbie said. "These schools, with their unique missions, will put Indiana University in the forefront of providing a strong academic and professional focus directed toward effective solutions to these difficult problems."
While their core missions will differ, both schools will collaborate and interact closely and are expected to substantially increase the university's ability to secure external funding for public health research, another area where the state of Indiana ranks poorly. The intention is to minimize overlap so that resources go as far as possible.
The necessary planning will begin immediately and will be overseen by the newly created IU Public Health Coordinating Council, which will report to McRobbie. Edwin Marshall, vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, will chair the council. Marshall, also an optometry professor, has an extensive background in public health.
Planning is expected to move more quickly at IU Bloomington, which already has much of the structure and programming in place at the School of HPER, with its departments of applied health science, kinesiology and recreation, park and tourism studies.
The school currently has some 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students and 162 full-time faculty members.
Robert M. Goodman, dean of the School of HPER, has been charged with planning for the conversion of the school at IU Bloomington. He said he will work closely with faculty and staff to create a plan that includes a name change and expands on basic public health disciplines, such as epidemiology, biostatistics and public health administration -- but not at the expense of existing programs. Goodman expects the planning and necessary approvals to be completed in the next year.
The school of public health at IUPUI will evolve from the Department of Public Health in the School of Medicine and build upon the campus' mission as Indiana's urban research and academic health sciences campus. Careful consideration will be given to the involvement of faculty from biostatistics, health policy, wellness, environmental health, behavioral science, and the health professions that are currently members of several schools at IUPUI.
IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz will form and charge a committee with planning for the new school. The many details to be worked out include space issues and the process for selecting a founding dean. A formal plan for the new school at IUPUI, once approved by the IU Board of Trustees, will not take effect prior to January 2011.
The IU Public Health Initiative, which is based on extensive conversations among university leaders during the past year, encourages planners to provide opportunities for students in each school of public health to take advantage of course offerings at the other campus through distance education and other means. The initiative also allows for the involvement of any regional campus interested in being associated with either school of public health as provided for in the accreditation requirements.
Once the plans for the schools have been approved, accreditation for the schools will be sought from the Council on Education for Public Health. If approved, these would be the first new schools formed at IU since the establishment of the School of Informatics in 2000 and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 1972.