The first day of classes recently began at The Colorado School of Public Health - the first school of public health in the nine-state Rocky Mountain Region.
A collaboration among the University of Colorado Denver (lead institution), Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado, the school will enable more students to receive public health training, speed interdisciplinary research development and provide access to training and research funds only available to accredited schools of public health.
Comprised of 68 primary faculty and 141 secondary faculty, the school will benefit the Rocky Mountain Region by expanding public health workforce education; educating new public health professionals to replace retiring workers and expand the needed workforce; and enhancing collaborative research to improve the health of all of the communities in the region.
Ninety-five new students will begin classes and join approximately 130 returning students who had enrolled in programs while they were a part of the former Department of Preventive Medicine & Biometrics in the UC Denver School of Medicine - now part of the new school.
"Exciting career opportunities in public health abound - from environmental health (air, water, toxic exposure protection) to infectious and chronic disease control and prevention, monitoring health of communities, community health education, health system management and policy, in-state and non-profit agencies, federal public health organizations such as the CDC or NIH, and research institutions," said Richard Hamman, MD, MPH, DrPH, founding dean of the Colorado School of Public Health.
"There are opportunities for students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry and veterinary medicine to obtain public health education."
The Colorado School of Public Health offers a Masters of Public Health (MPH), the standard professional degree in the field. It also offers MS, PhD, residency, certificate and dual degree programs.
The curriculum is supported by the five Colorado School of Public Health departments: Biostatistics & Informatics; Community & Behavioral Health; Environmental & Occupational Health; Epidemiology; and Health Systems, Policy & Management.
Student numbers include: 54 new Masters of Public Health (MPH) students; 35 Public Health Certificate students; two PhD-Biostatistics program students; two MS-Biostatistics program students; and three PhD-Epidemiology program students.
Residency programs began July 1 and include four Preventive Medicine residents and three Occupational Medicine residents.
According to Dean Hamman, a graduate degree is typically two years long, although it may be done part-time while working. Students can attend any of the three institutions or take classes across all three.
Students and faculty will work with communities and their leaders to improve the health of the public by assessing health and environmental needs and concerns and developing plans to address them; they will also help develop the required assessments to plan and implement local public health revitalization as recently passed by Colorado legislature (SB 194).
There are 40 accredited schools of public health, with six to eight new schools under development nationally and several in the early planning stages. In contrast, there are 129 accredited medical schools in the United States.
"The Colorado School of Public Health is another example of Colorado’s continued commitment to ensuring that all people and communities are healthy and their environment sustainable," said Dean Hamman. "We are proud to be a partner and leader in this commitment."
The incoming class is scheduled to graduate in May 2010; however, existing students will continue to graduate before the "first class." The school has been in the planning stages since 2002.
"We hope that in the next 10 years, the Colorado School of Public Health will be seen as a model for collaborative education and research in the region with a national and international reputation for excellence," said Hamman.
Funding for the new Colorado School of Public Health has come from the partnering universities, the Colorado Health Foundation, Caring for Colorado Foundation, the Colorado Trust, the Rose Community Foundation, the Colorado Foundation for Public Health and Environment, Great West Life, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, the Colorado Public Health Association and many other individuals.
The new school also receives federal funding for the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center and the Mountain and Plains Education and Research Center.
For more information, please visit http://publichealth.ucdenver.edu.