The University of Missouri announced today the creation of a new academic department shared by the School of Health Professions and the College of Veterinary Medicine. The new Department of Public Health will be the home of the interdisciplinary Master of Public Health Program and create the academic infrastructure required to advance public health education and research at the university.
University of Missouri Provost Latha Ramchand said the creation of the Department of Public Health is an essential step in advancing the university’s standing in the Association of American Universities and extending precision medicine to the citizens of Missouri.
“The Department of Public Health will be the academic home, and create the necessary academic support for research and education in public health that will significantly expand MU’s relevance and influence on the critical public health issues we face worldwide,” Ramchand said.
The Master of Public Health program, which includes veterinary public health, was established as an interdisciplinary graduate program in 2007 and has been administered by the School of Health Professions since 2017. In addition to sharing faculty with the Department of Health Sciences in the School of Health Professions, the program includes affiliate faculty from almost every other division at the university: the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Arts and Science, the Sinclair School of Nursing, the School of Medicine, the College of Human Environmental Sciences and the School of Journalism. Both the program and the new department will remain highly interdisciplinary.
“Public health is at the core of solving some of our most pressing global challenges: food and water security, climate change, epidemics and population health, to name a few,” said School of Health Professions Dean Kristofer Hagglund. “Interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students in the new Department of Public Health will be uniquely positioned to compete for funding, advance the science of public health, and work together to improve the lives of individuals and communities.”
The School of Health Professions and the College of Veterinary Medicine are long-standing partners in the MPH program, and will share in the administration of the new department. The recently launched online veterinary public health program has attracted students from around the globe with its unique model and interdisciplinary faculty and focus. “Veterinary public health research and study is critical to advancing solutions for global health challenges,” said College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Dr. Carolyn Henry. “With the creation of this department, MU is well-positioned to maximize interdisciplinary teaching and research and expand its contributions to the body of knowledge in public health.”
The Department of Public Health will be formally established under the direction of Interim Department Chair Lise Saffran, who also will remain the Director of the Master of Public Health Program.