The University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) today announced a collaborative school of public health that will give graduate students at both institutions expanded opportunities in public health education, research, service, and training.
The announcement was made at a news conference hosted by University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor William Kirwan, PhD, at the USM offices in Adelphi. UMCP and UMB have begun the national accreditation process as one initiative of their University of Maryland: MPowering the State collaboration approved by the USM Board of Regents on March 1, 2012.
“In establishing the MPowering the State initiative, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents developed a framework to maximize the collective power of our two largest research institutions to serve the needs of our citizens,” says Kirwan. “This framework is embodied by bringing together the strengths of the public health program at our College Park flagship and the expertise behind several medical disciplines at our School of Medicine. I am pleased to see the Collaborative School of Public Health chart its course as an opportunity for our students and the people they are training to serve in Maryland.”
The Council on Education for Public Health uses the term “collaborative school of public health” to describe a school of public health which offers degree programs across more than one institution, but is accredited as a single unit. Currently, there are only three collaborative schools of public health.
Both the current School of Public Health in College Park and the Master of Public Health program in Baltimore will retain their current accreditation during this process. If approved by the accrediting body, the first master of public health students to receive degrees granted through the collaborative school will be in 2014.
“Students will be able to access the faculty expertise available in College Park and Baltimore,” says Jay Perman, MD, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore. “The basic degree requirements won’t change, and will continue to include the core areas of public health. What will change is that the collaboration creates new opportunities and brings together complementary strengths from each campus.”
“Our School of Public Health in College Park brings expertise across all five of the core public health disciplines, and notably in biostatistics, social and behavioral sciences, environmental health, social epidemiology, health education, health promotion, health services administration, and community-based research. We also have the added breadth of expertise in kinesiology and family science, a particular strength in the context of current and emerging public health issues,” says Wallace Loh, PhD, president of the University of Maryland, College Park. “The University of Maryland School of Medicine brings strengths in epidemiology and biostatistics, clinical research, global health, and complementary strengths in behavioral and social sciences and population health. The new collaborative school of public health offers an exciting opportunity to bring multiple disciplines together.”
“We are exploring options for ‘smart’ classrooms and meeting rooms to facilitate learning and student-to-student interaction across the campuses. We will encourage students to enroll in courses at both institutions,” says Jane Clark, PhD, dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Health. “It also is likely that instructors from one campus will offer classes in classrooms at the other campus, or offer online courses for students on the other campus. The students will have the opportunity to interact with one another as well.”
“It is expected that the collaborative school will enhance opportunities to train a public health work force that will be engaged in public health practice and research in multiple settings,” says Jay Magaziner, PhD, MSHyg, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in the School of Medicine. “We expect that the increased visibility of the collaborative school will result in more students pursuing public health careers. This new collaboration enhances our capacity to meet the public health workforce needs of the state of Maryland, particularly in the areas of cultural competency, health literacy, and interprofessional education, where we offer opportunities where students can earn a public health (MPH) and professional degree in dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy or social work simultaneously.”
The University of Maryland: MPowering the State brings together two universities of distinction to form a new collaborative partnership. Harnessing the resources of each, the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore will focus the collective expertise on critical state-wide issues of public health, biomedical informatics, and bioengineering. This collaboration will drive an even greater impact on the state, its economy, the job market, and the next generation of innovators. The joint initiatives will have a profound effect on productivity, the economy, and the very fabric of higher education.