CONTACT: STEVE MARAVETZ
283 Medical Laboratories
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8037; fax (319) 335-8034
UI to ask Regents to approve public health initiative
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa will ask the Iowa Board of
Regents to approve a Public Health Initiative when the Regents meet next
Wednesday in Ames. The cornerstone of the initiative is the establishment
of a School of Public Health within the UI College of Medicine.
The Public Health Initiative will build upon the resources of the existing
department of preventive medicine and environmental health in the College
of Medicine. The UI will likely ask the Regents to approve at some future
date a new Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, which is recognized as
the primary professional degree in public health.
"We feel very strongly that the Public Health Initiative, leading
to the establishment of a School of Public Health, is an important step
toward improving the health of all Iowans," said Robert P. Kelch,
M.D., dean of the College of Medicine. "It will have a major impact
on the health of Iowa's children and on our senior citizens."
The MPH program, which has been unanimously approved by the UI Graduate
Council and by UI Provost Jon Whitmore, would be the only one in Iowa.
In its proposal to the Regents, the UI says a survey of the 99 county and
regional public health units indicated a clear need for the program. Before
the request for the degree program is presented to the Regents, it must
be approved by the UI graduate faculty, to whom it will be submitted in
The MPH degree is highly sought-after by physicians, nurses, allied
health professionals and health administrators who work in public health
settings. Under the proposal, the degree would be offered both on campus
and via the Iowa Communications Network. The degree would enable health
care professionals to earn the degree within the state, rather than having
to pursue it at such places as the University of Wisconsin, the University
of Minnesota and the University of Illinois-Chicago.
The proposal indicates that the establishment of the School of Public
Health would require $6.5 million in new resources over five years to recruit
faculty and staff and to develop the additional educational programs needed
The UI is asking the Regents to approve a special purpose appropriation
of $1.85 million for FY 2000 for the Public Health Initiative. Of that,
$1.5 million would be used to recruit faculty and develop curriculum for
the School of Public Health, and $350,000 will be targeted for a part of
the Public Health Initiative called Health and Independence of Elderly
Iowans. Additional state and university commitments would be required in
future years to meet the budget of the school.