Charles Rondot, the school’s director of marketing and communications, said it will be two years before the school is accredited.
The school is currently recognized as an associate member of the Association for Schools of Public Health, he said, but it needs to be accredited as a full member to receive grants from the federal government and other sources.
Full accreditation will also allow the school to “fully engage in research,” he said.
“Our application for accreditation has been accepted, as has the school at IUPUI, and after a two-year self-study will be reviewed,” he said. “We will be moved from associate membership in the Association for Schools of Public Health to full membership, pending their approval of that application.”
In addition to the new name and accreditation, the school has added two departments: environmental health and epidemiology, and biostatistics.
These departments were added as part of the broadened focus of the school that includes preventing disease and premature death and promoting health and quality of life, School of Public Health interim dean Mohammad Torabi said.
Torabi said making the switch from a school of physical education to an accredited school of public health will give graduates of the school a competitive edge in the job market.
There aren’t many schools with a narrow focus on physical education and recreation anymore, he said.
“The school of public health with a broad mission is an established school all over the world, so people have a better chance for placements, for grants, for contracts, for research,” Torabi said. “The job market is phenomenal in public health.”
The new school is the first of its kind within Indiana, with the Bloomington location providing a focus on rural community health. The IUPUI School of Public Health is providing a focus on urban health, according to a press release.
IU Provost Lauren Robel said the addition of both schools will serve the state by producing more public health professionals and by providing students with new funding and resources.
School of Public Health doctoral student Margo Mullinax said the school’s new name facilitates life after graduation by providing a universal title that is becoming increasingly well-known.
“The school of public health is something that’s becoming more widely understood as an important topic in our discussions about life and behavior and health, and so I think it’s just something that people readily understand and recognize,” Mullinax said.
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