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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 14, 2003

UI College Of Public Health Earns Full Accreditation

The University of Iowa College of Public Health has been granted seven years of full accreditation -- the maximum length possible -- by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health. The recommendation was made in early October at the CEPH Board of Councilors' fall meeting.

"This is very important recognition for the College of Public Health. It certifies excellence in education, research and service to the public health profession across all of the public health disciplines," said James A. Merchant, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the College of Public Health. "It will help the college compete nationally for the very best students and faculty."

Full accreditation by CEPH attests to the high quality of the educational programs within the College of Public Health, serves as a basis for determining eligibility for federally funded programs and student financial aid, and enhances employment opportunities for graduates. The decision to confer seven years of full accreditation also reflects the strong institutional support provided to the College of Public Health by the UI.

"The University of Iowa has established a tradition of excellence in education through high quality programs in teaching, research and service," noted UI President David Skorton. "Even before the College of Public Health came into existence as a separate academic unit, its faculty were making important contributions to this tradition. This accreditation decision recognizes these continuing efforts, which support better community health throughout Iowa and our region."

Founded in July 1999, the College of Public Health received pre-accreditation status from CEPH for a period of three years in October 2000. The pre-accreditation designation is the initial accreditation category for new schools of public health. Continuing the process for full accreditation, in spring 2003 the college completed a final self-study and hosted a site visit by a team of CEPH external peer reviewers.

Among the college's strengths that the reviewers noted in their ensuing report were "a strong identification with and knowledge of the public health environment and challenges unique to Iowa; a high degree of 'custom-designed' responses tailored to the goal of supporting individual achievement and coordinated service to the community; a commitment to create cutting-edge and up-to-the minute learning opportunities; and a well-established research portfolio and excellent infrastructure to support the research agenda of faculty members."

The site visit team also remarked on the credentials of the faculty, stating: "The faculty of the college possess excellent educational qualifications and are well-equipped to provide a top-flight education to the college's students."

"Since its inception, the college has enjoyed strong support from the University and the State of Iowa," said J. Jackson Barnette, Ph.D., College of Public Health associate dean for education and student affairs. "Our faculty, students, alumni and staff benefit from this ongoing commitment to providing quality public health education."

Once accredited by CEPH, a school or program is reviewed at regular intervals, but at least once every seven years. The UI College of Public Health is one of 33 accredited graduate schools of public health in the United States and the only accredited school of public health in Iowa.

STORY SOURCE: The University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications, 4257 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

CONTACT: Media: Dan McMillan, 319-335-6835, daniel-mcmillan@uiowa.edu; Writer: Debra Venzke.