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Message from the Dean
I hope your new year has started strong, and your resolutions are still on track. My personal goals are to get the running shoes back out and get moving after I’ve spent most of a year with hip and hamstring ailments. Now that it has gotten cold out, might as well get back outside! Of course, I also hope to see our school continue to grow our student numbers, research initiatives and community engagement opportunities.
As 2016 begins, we look forward to many exciting successes and new initiatives, including May graduation of our undergraduate students (about 25 I hear). They will be UofL’s first true cohort to have earned a BA or BS in public health. We also are expanding our curriculum offerings in a number of areas from policy to big data analytics and if all goes according to plan, we will begin our international offerings as well.
Our new Youth Violence Prevention Center, funded by a $5.7 million CDC grant, is working to engage the community to help address this significant public health issue. West Louisville residents face disproportionately higher rates of violent crime and poor health outcomes. We are pleased to join with other individuals and organizations mobilizing to alleviate these preventable disparities.
We welcome Brandy N. Kelly Pryor, Ph.D., our newest faculty member, who also will serve as director of the Center for Health Equity at the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. She has already engaged colleagues on both sides of Gray Street in this new vision of collaboration, and I am confident she will take us to another level and stimulate initiatives that target health disparities in ways that will have measurable impact.
Our school continues to explore a number of global health initiatives in places such as Ecuador, Djibouti, and South Africa. We are proud of SPHIS faculty, Dr. Muriel Harris and Dr. Anne Wallis, working in Africa as part of the Fulbright program. It’s my vision to continue to develop international relationships so we can expand opportunities for our students to become more familiar with big picture population health issues. We may even begin developing a curricular training agenda to prepare students to become public health professionals in global settings.
Happy New Year, I’ll be bringing you more exciting news throughout 2016!
Craig H. Blakely, PhD, MPH
Dean, School of Public Health and Information Sciences