About the School of Public Health
On January 19, 2011, the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center’s Chancellor, Christopher Colenda, MD, MPH, announced that West Virginia University will establish a new School of Public Health. Aided by support from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, these plans are now well established. Five academic departments have formed to lead the pre-accreditation phase of development for the new School. On June 23, 2011, five interim department chairs and four planning committees, including about 50 faculty representatives from across the university, began to work on curriculum and organizational reform on the planning path to School status. An organizational chart can be seen here.
The School of Public Health is built upon the strong foundation of the existing Department of Community Medicine and its allies. There is already a CEPH-accredited program with over 100 MPH students and more than 20 PhD students. Our students have achieved success in professional placements. There is a dynamic interdisciplinary research enterprise. The mission has always been to provide primary prevention, intervention, and public health research to West Virginia communities and beyond. Now, the scale and scope of our MPH and PhD programs will increase.
The department faculty have performed nationally recognized work in competitive, externally funded centers, such as the West Virginia Rural Health Research Center, the Translational Tobacco Reduction Research Program, the Office of Health Services Research, the WVU Biostatistics Consulting Group, the Center on Aging, the Institute for Occupational and Environmental Health, the Office of Public Health Practice and the West Virginia Prevention Research Center.
There is a strong community basis for our endeavors. It is common to see our students taking on community projects, or publishing research with their faculty mentors. These positive attributes will not change with growth. The opportunities will increase.
At least ten new tenure-track faculty will be hired, from entry-level to leadership positions. Public agencies in West Virginia and beyond have expressed interest in educational, research, and service partnerships with the new School. Emerging partnerships include the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which operated a major research facility adjacent to the WVU campus, and the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health.
We welcome your interest as well.