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Sunday, Dec. 10
The Indiana Daily Student

academics & research

School of Public Health creates free public health courses

IU is teaming up with state agencies to improve health for all.

The IU School of Public Health announced the launch of the “Public Health & You” initiative, a new program aimed at enhancing the knowledge and skills of Indiana’s front-line public health workers.

Michael Reece, professor and associate dean for research and graduate studies in the School of Public Health, said the goal of the program is to provide training that helps those in public health build their skills, grow the capacity of their organizations and help improve public health in Indiana.

“We have been working on the initiative for a while, and the name ‘Public Health & You’ is particularly important to us, because this initiative is open to anyone anywhere who is working to improve health of Indiana’s communities but might not think of themselves as a traditional public health worker,” Reece said.

Designed in collaboration with the Indiana State Department of Health, IU Health Bloomington Hospital and the Indiana Public Health Association, the program offers free online classes aimed at professionals and practitioners whose work affects the health of the public.

“We will use the ‘Public Health & You’ courses to increase awareness of the important role public health professionals play,” Carol Weiss-Kennedy, community health director for IU Health Bloomington Hospital, said in a press release.

She said she has worked closely with the school on the development of the initiative, and she hopes to encourage individuals to explore this area of study.

“The School of Public Health - Bloomington is committed in working collaboratively with the state public health infrastructure and workforce development,” said Mohammad Torabi, founding dean and chancellor’s professor at the School of Public Health.

Five courses are available on the website, but Torabi said the program will continue to grow.The course topics include an introduction to public health, environmental health, epidemiology and biostatistics, public health administration and behavioral, social and community health.

Reece said the program reflects how public health is conducted in different ways.
“The courses and certificates available at ‘Public Heath & You’ are developed in response to professional needs of the Indiana health work force,” said Priscilla Barnes, faculty member in the School of Public Health.

Completion of the five courses will result in the earning of a Professional Development Certificate in Public Health for the IU School of Public Health.

Though the program is not designed for IU students, Reece said students are encouraged to enroll if they want to improve their knowledge or skills about public health.

He said it is also a good introduction if students are curious about what public health might mean for them.

According to the American Public Health Association, Indiana is one of the 10 least healthy states in America, and public health funding is less than half of the national average.

Reece said with “Public Health & You,” the School of Public Health hopes to improve the health of local communities.

“A healthier Indiana means improved economic stability and enhanced quality of life for all Hoosiers,” Torabi said.

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