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UA proposes new public health college

By Irene Hsiao
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
December 2, 1999
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The proposal for a new UA College of Public Health that would include programs under the Arizona Prevention Center, will go before the Faculty Senate for preliminary approval on Monday.

The primary focus of consolidating the programs into one college is to improve prevention of non-traditional medical problems in the community, such as smoking and obesity. The college would become one of the five colleges under the Arizona Health Sciences Center.

"The development of a college is to raise the public profile of public health," said Kent Campbell, the head of the Arizona Prevention Center and the director of the Arizona Graduate Program in Public Health. "The college will provide us the organization to integrate the programs better."

He said the academic public health college will not only emphasize health policy research and programs for the disadvantaged border and Native American communities, but also educate those already in the field. About 80 percent of state and local public health workers do not have formal education in the area, Campbell said.

After forming the college, he said it will offer a biostatistics degree program and a doctorate program in public health. The current education programs are an undergraduate health education major and a graduate program in epidemiology.

A masters degree in public health in collaboration with Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University is already in place.

"This is the typical model for developed health science centers," Campbell said.

Shaun O'Connor, senior program coordinator, said the proposal has already been reviewed by several committees on campus for about three months before moving to the Faculty Senate. It will be discussed by the Senate this month and a majority vote will be required for approval.

She said if it is approved, the chief academic officers at the two other universities will have to approve it before it reaches the Arizona Board of Regents in mid-January.

O'Connor said putting together a new college is not an easy process.

"Forming a new college is something actually taken seriously," she said. "It is something the faculty doesn't do willingly."

Campbell, also a professor of public health, said a new facility would be built at the Arizona Health Sciences Center if the college receives approval. Part of the funding has already been provided by a $5 million endowment from Mel and Enid Zuckerman, owners of Canyon Ranch health spa.

The last time a new academic college was formed occurred in 1995 when the College of Arts and Sciences split into the four separate colleges.

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