The Texas A&M Health Science Center yesterday announced a transition in the name of the School of Rural Public Health to the School of Public Health, eliminating the reference to “rural” in the official name. The school will continue its focus on rural public health, but this change recognizes its increasingly broad role in promoting state and national public health concerns.
“As before, our efforts will continue to focus on public health issues through interventions and research that impact all 254 counties in Texas – most of which are rural,” said Jim Burdine, Dr.P.H., interim dean of the Texas A&M School of Public Health.
Founded in 1998 and currently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top 25 graduate school of public health, the Texas A&M School of Public Health’s mission is to create, translate and apply knowledge in educating public health leaders, engage in public health service and research, and transfer what is learned into public health practices and policies to improve population health. As for now, the school is addressing a critical need for trained public health professionals. In fact, it is estimated that only 20 percent of the public health workforce in Texas has formal training.
Focusing on this need, the school recently launched several new degree programs, including its first undergraduate program, a Bachelor of Science in Public Health (B.S.P.H.), a new Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) in Occupational Health and Safety, and an online M.P.H. degree in Epidemiology. Applications are currently being accepted for a new bachelor’s degree program at the TAMU College Station campus, and classes should begin in the fall semester of 2014. The undergraduate curriculum is to be based on a philosophy of health promotion and disease prevention to improve the quality of life of individuals, families and communities.
These new offerings add to the school’s existing graduate programs in health administration, epidemiology, biostatistics, environmental health, health promotion and community health services and health services research.
Additionally, more than 85 percent of the school’s faculty are currently investigators on funded research projects aimed at answering some of the most pressing public health issues facing the world today, providing tomorrow’s public health leaders with an optimal learning environment to work with top-notch professionals in the field.
Burdine believes the recent implementation of additional academic degree programs will bring “exciting times” for Texas A&M School of Public Health, and emphasizes that despite the new name, that “more accurately reflects” their educational mission, the school will maintain a “strong focus on training the state’s public health workforce to better serve our state and nation.”