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Regents merge 4 health departments into college

By Rachael Myer and Ryan Gabrielson
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 21, 2000
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PHOENIX-The Arizona Board of Regents yesterday combined four existing UA departments to create the state's first College of Public Health.

ABOR unanimously approved the proposal, which fuses the UA Prevention Center, the undergraduate health education major, the General Preventative Medicine program, and two graduate programs in public health and epidemiology.

"We believe that the time is now for College of Public Health in terms of resources," said James Dalen, dean of the UA College of Medicine and vice president of Health Sciences.

Cisco Aguilar, Associated Students president, said the university will be more prestigious with the four programs consolidated together.

"I think it is a great idea," Aguilar said. "It shows the UA is expanding."

During the ABOR's call to the audience, Jonathan Weisbach, the director of Maricopa County Public Health, said he was concerned Tucson would receive the educational benefits while other areas of Arizona would be left out.

Hank Amos, ABOR president, noted such concerns before the vote began.

"There are those in Maricopa County who feel like they are not getting served," Amos said.

Weisbach added that faculty statewide should be involved with the new college. The proposal states the new college's faculty will be comprised of the UA Prevention Center's current faculty and staff.

But Arizona Prevention Center director Carlos Campbell said the college would be beneficial to all of Arizona.

The college has already announced plans to collaborate with other Arizona and Southwest agencies to "foster excellence" in public health research and service.

"We are a statewide resource," said Campbell, who will serve as the college's dean until the position is permanently filled.

The college will be partially funded over a 10-year period by a $10 million 1997 donation from Canyon Ranch founders.

In other ABOR business yesterday:

Lisa Graham Keegan, state superintendent of schools, spoke against possible community service mandates for students applying for Arizona law and medical schools.

"This crosses the line. Community service comes out of your soul and your heart - this cheapens it," Graham Keegan said. "I can't imagine we are living in a world where I go to church to do service, and I have to ask the pastor how many hours I was there and to sign off on it."

Voicing opinions in support of public service were Amos and regents John Munger and Rudy Campbell.

"All I want to get through is that in the state of Arizona it's important to do public service," Amos said.

An accountability report outlining actual and target graduation rates was presented for ABOR review.

"The UA wishing to be unique, set a range," said Regent Judy Gignac. "These are moving targets and absolute numbers are not the way to go."

The UA's target four-year graduation rate was previously 55 percent. Lowering it to 50 percent caused Amos and other regents to voice concerns.

Likins blamed the lowered target graduation rates on the UA's low admissions standards and low tuition, and then argued for a new goal that can be achieved.

"Please give us a goal, an optimal achievable level, not striving to make it higher or lower," Likins said.

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