On July 1, 2013, NEC member Brown University achieved a goal ten years in the making when they opened the Brown University School of Public Health. This achievement builds upon the previous successes of Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School, which previously housed the University’s health programs. Brown has a tradition of interdisciplinary study that will facilitate collaboration between both schools that is bound to yield promising results.
Establishing a separate School of Public Health provides both the University and the state of Rhode Island with myriad benefits. First, the University will now be able to compete for and receive federal funding to further its research that is only available to schools devoted to public health. With the increased availability of funds and notoriety, the University will be able to attract both faculty and students who may have previously shied away due to the lack of a public health school.
“In terms of our educational programs, I believe it will expand our pool of applicants to our various graduate programs and therefore improve the pool of already good students,” said Terrie “Fox” Wetle, the school’s first dean. “When we talk with students who are accepted at several places and they make a decision not to choose us, one of the primary reasons they give is they want to go to a school of public health – and we will now be a school of public health.”
The School of Public Health will house both undergraduate and graduate programs ranging from epidemiology–the study of how diseases are transmitted–to behavioral and social science intervention. The Rhode Island Department of Health welcomes this change, giving the state a new partner in its quest to make Rhode Island the healthiest state in the nation. The new school will play a role in analyzing the impact of state policies and providing research that will assist the state in crafting more effective public health policies.
The New England Council congratulates Brown for opening their new School of Public Health and look forward to the University’s continued success.