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Message from the Dean
Once again it is time to wind down an academic year. This has been an exciting year, as there have been many moving parts. I should begin with our academic programs. As most of you know, 2015 is the year in which we celebrate 100 years of academic public health. The discipline has been very introspective the past two years in preparation for our foray into the second century of instruction. Collaboratively, through the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, we have been creating new competencies for doctoral and masters instructional programs. While we are revamping these programs, we are moving in the direction of developing new MPH, MS, and health administration curricula.
Our brand new undergraduate public health program is winding down and celebrating the success of its first year in operation. We began the year with 54 students. We finish the year with over 100 and prospects for well over 200 by fall 2015. This dramatic growth is testament to the recognition of the student body of the importance of and opportunities linked to public health training. It also confirms the reputation we are establishing for having an exciting and challenging program carried by a dynamic group of faculty and dedicated staff. As a school we clearly have to shift additional energy to support this visible and growing segment of our academic portfolio.
In the area of research, we kicked off the new Commonwealth Institute in January—with $4 million in support from KentuckyOne Health. This single move is stimulating dramatic changes in our faculty composition, policy focused research, and will influence more instructional transformations down the road. We have also initiated several projects that should make meaningful contributions to the Affordable Care Act implementation in Kentucky and nationally. Finally, we are now one year into our reinvigorated investment in community engaged scholarship. The school is about to open a new West Louisville office at the Louisville Central Community Center and has several initiatives now in place on the west side—two worth noting are a new violence prevention program and a health literacy project.
As a school of public health, our raison d’etre is in preparing tomorrow’s professionals. We expect 50 masters and 7 doctoral students will participate in our May commencement activities. We are extremely proud of the work these colleagues have invested in their future careers and the opportunity we have had to help them prepare for that future. We greatly look forward to hearing of their accomplishments in the years to come.
Finally, after a second serious winter—spring is here. Enjoy.
Craig H. Blakely, PhD, MPH
Dean, School of Public Health and Information Sciences