The University of Georgia College of Public Health, founded in 2005, has been awarded full accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health. With this announcement, the college becomes one of only 41 accredited colleges of public health in the nation and the only accredited public health college in the University System of Georgia. The college joins the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University as the only two accredited colleges of public health in Georgia.
Phillip L. Williams, dean of the college, thanked UGA President Michael F. Adams and Arnett C. Mace, Jr., UGA senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, as well as the college’s faculty, staff and alumni.
“We are proud to join such an elite group of universities,” Williams said. “With very consistent strategic support from Dr. Mace and Dr. Adams, our faculty, staff, and alumni have been working towards accreditation since our creation in 2005. Earning this accreditation brings us one step closer to our goal of becoming a pre-eminent college of public health. I’m particularly proud of the work our faculty members have done to develop excellent academic programs while securing considerable funding for sponsored research.”
The need for public health education in Georgia is great, according to Williams. The average age of public health workers in the state is near 50, and the state needs more students in the pipeline to replace these workers as they enter retirement. An accredited college of public health helps to ensure that a well-trained workforce will be available to serve the people of Georgia. At the same time, groundbreaking research is needed to help reduce high rates of premature death, infant mortality, infectious disease, heart disease, and substance abuse.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the faculty of this program and Dean Williams for achieving full accreditation in record time,” said Adams. “As I have said many times, the health of the public is a key mission for any land-grant institution today, and our new program in public health represents a clear commitment at UGA to this mission. I am particularly pleased with the rapid expansion of its enrollment and the fact that the college is already fourth among UGA’s colleges and schools in sponsored research. More fundamentally, I believe the program will contribute to UGA’s overall academic excellence and our long-term positive impact for the people of Georgia.”
Dr. Harrison C. Spencer, president and CEO of the Association of Schools of Public Health, also congratulated the college on receiving accreditation.
“This is an outstanding accomplishment for the UGA College of Public Health,” he said, “and the ASPH is delighted to welcome the college as an accredited member.”
The mission of the college is to promote health in human populations through innovative research, exemplary education, and engaged service dedicated to preventing disease and injury within the state and around the world. In addition to the Master of Public Health and Doctor of Public Health degrees, the college offers: Bachelor of Science degrees in environmental health science and health promotion and behavior; Master of Science degrees in environmental health science and toxicology; and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in health promotion and behavior and toxicology. The college is comprised of 43 full-time faculty members and 600 students, with more than 1,500 alumni.