Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences was granted accreditation today, making it the first school of public health in Oregon to earn that recognition.
The accreditation, from the Council on Education for Public Health, means OSU has the only accredited school of public health between San Francisco and Seattle. The distinction elevates the College of Public Health and Human Sciences’ visibility and stature, increases its ability to attract and retain committed students and world-class faculty, and helps the college continue its mission of education, research and outreach, OSU officials say. The recognition also allows the college to support a qualified work force in Oregon and beyond.
The college is a leader in efforts to redesign and integrate the public health curriculum. Harvard and Columbia University are among the handful of other accredited schools in the United States using this approach. At Oregon State, faculty members already work across disciplines in public health and the human sciences.
“Integration is where the future of public health is headed,” says Tammy Bray, dean of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. “We believe a life-span, interdisciplinary approach will make the greatest impact on society’s most complex public health issues, which don’t come in discipline-shaped blocks.”
Helping Oregonians become healthier at all stages of life, with an emphasis on prevention and outreach, is a central focus of the college.
“Our faculty in OSU Extension, including programs in 4-H and Family and Community Health, have worked with their neighbors in every county in Oregon for 100 years to create local solutions to their health challenges,” Bray said. “Of the nation’s 50-plus schools of public health, we’re the only one with that level of community outreach built in.”
Tammy says receiving accreditation means that experts in the field of public health agree that the College of Public Health and Human Sciences is of high quality; has the curriculum, faculty and resources needed to continue meeting high standards; and produces graduates that have the knowledge and skills to succeed in their fields.
The council awarded the College of Public Health and Human Sciences a five-year accreditation, the maximum granted. The decision follows an extensive and rigorous review of the college’s academic programs that took more than four years to complete. The college’s accreditation will be up for review and renewal in 2019.
“This accreditation establishes our role as a credible leader in public health in Oregon and beyond,” Tammy says. “It comes at a time when a spotlight is on the public’s health like never before, and we are uniquely positioned to work with our communities in creating healthy environments that enhance lifelong health and well-being.”
This year, the college extended its reach beyond state and national borders by launching the new Center for Global Health, which joins three existing research centers – the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families; the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health; and the Center for Healthy Aging Research.
The college serves more than 3,500 undergraduate and 300 graduate students, and its alumni go on to work in a variety of positions in high-demand health care settings, including federal and state health agencies, hospitals and clinics, community organizations, county health departments, non-governmental organizations and many more.
“Public health is an increasingly relevant and vital profession. At OSU, enrollment in our public health programs is up 116 percent over the last five years, a trend that’s still on the rise,” Tammy says.
“That’s a good thing for the public, because more than three times the number of current public health graduates is needed to meet the health needs of the future,” she says. “Our graduates will be well prepared to work collaboratively to solve current and emerging public health challenges not only in Oregon but across the globe.”