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Last modified: Friday, October 14, 2011

Indiana Commission for Higher Education endorses IU request to create public health schools

Oct. 14, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's request to establish the state of Indiana's first schools of public health, one at IU Bloomington and the other at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, was approved today (Oct. 14) by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

Michael McRobbie

Michael McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

IU's request involves transforming the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at IU Bloomington into the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and creating a new IU School of Public Health-Indianapolis at IUPUI.

The establishment of the new schools, which must be approved by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the public health accrediting body, is part of the IU Public Health Initiative, an effort by the university to address pressing health needs across a state that traditionally ranks poorly in major public health benchmarks such as obesity, tobacco use, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This also will open significant new research opportunities for the university and its faculty.

"Indiana University welcomes today's action by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "We appreciate their expressed support for the establishment of two strong, highly engaged schools of public health in Indiana that will leverage the university's vast resources toward improving the health of Hoosiers and addressing the complex public health issues facing our state, nation and world."

"On behalf of the university -- and the many individuals who will contribute to the success of these new schools -- I would like to offer my sincere appreciation to Commissioner Teresa Lubbers, her staff and members of the commission for their support of this important initiative in strengthening the quality of life in our state."

The two schools are expected to build upon the strengths of their respective campuses as they further a collective academic public health agenda. In Bloomington, the school will have a rural community focus with emphasis on strengths in social, behavioral and community health-based research and practice, environmental health, wellness and epidemiology. In Indianapolis, the school will focus on strengths in the areas of urban health, health policy, biostatistics and epidemiology and on its strong connections to the IU School of Medicine on the IUPUI campus.

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.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education is a 14-member public body created in 1971 to define the educational missions of public colleges and universities, plan and coordinate Indiana's state-supported system of postsecondary education and approve or disapprove for public institutions the establishment of new programs or expansion of campuses. Its members are appointed by Indiana's governor and serve terms of four years.