October 6, 2016

Columbia, MO

The provost’s office has announced the decision to move the MPH program’s administrative home to the School of Health Professions. This realignment creates exciting opportunities for growth for both the MPH program and for the school. MPH will remain an interdisciplinary program but will more formally have access to the support services of SHP – allowing us to streamline existing operations and take advantage of the natural cooperation that already exists between the program and SHP. We will immediately begin the process of establishing a transition team comprised of fiscal, HR, advancement and communications staff to help identify the most efficient processes for integrating the two organizations. For more details, please see the announcement below, and join me in welcoming the MPH program more fully in to the SHP Family!

FROM: Garnett S. Stokes, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

RE: Administrative placement of the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program within MU’s School of Health Professions

After considerable deliberation and analysis, I have asked that the administrative placement of the Master of Public Health program be moved from the Office of Research and Graduate Studies to the School of Health Professions as of November 1, 2016.

The MPH program was launched in 2007 as an interdisciplinary program under the auspices of the Graduate School. Eight schools and colleges across the university participate in teaching and administrative policy development through the core faculty committee. The deans of five schools and colleges (the School of Health Professions, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Human and Environmental Sciences, the Truman School for Public Affairs and the Sinclair School of Nursing) serve on the Board of Directors. Many more academic units are involved through interdisciplinary efforts, including two recent high-impact symposia from Mizzou Advantage and a Mizzou Advantage funded interdisciplinary research retreat in public health.

Throughout, the School of Health Professions has provided substantive support to the program, including office space, and fiscal and human resources support.  In 2015, when the Graduate School was disbanded, the administrative home of the MPH Program was moved to the Office of Interdisciplinary programs, within the Office of the Provost, and discussion began about how to ensure adequate infrastructure support for the program. That discussion is ongoing and a task force has been formed to provide recommendations.  (Further information is provided below.)

The decision to locate the administrative home of the MPH Program within SHP was made in consideration of a unanimous vote of the MPH core faculty and consent from the deans of the schools and colleges principally involved. This move, along with recent re-accreditation by the Council on Education in Public Health, will position the program to maximize its growth potential, as well as expand opportunities for interdisciplinary work in public health across campus.

Administrative support from the School of Health Professions will allow the MPH Program to function more efficiently with regard to human resources and fiscal management and become stronger in the following areas:

Development: The MPH program has a growing alumni base and a new alumni organization. In addition, the work of its faculty and students focuses on issues of general concern to the public, including international development, infectious disease prevention, social justice and the built environment. The development infrastructure of SHP will allow the program to set and meet strategic goals for advancement.

Strategic Communication: The MPH program will be supported by the SHP Strategic Communication team to facilitate effective distribution of press releases, other announcements, and website management.

Research/Grants Management: The SHP grant writing and management team will allow the MPH program to build on recent efforts, including the MPH Interdisciplinary Extramural Research Proposal Retreat (Summer 2016) that is developing public health research proposals.
Commitment to Interdisciplinary Model
The program’s interdisciplinary structure will be maintained. Current and future shared faculty members will retain academic homes in the participating schools and colleges with all of the corresponding rights and responsibilities. In addition, the Board of Directors comprised of the participating Deans will continue in its current form and role. The Master of Public Health Program budget will continue to be administered independently by the Program Director, in consultation with program staff and core faculty members.

Going Forward
I have charged the Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies, Leona Rubin, and the Mizzou Advantage Initiative Director, Jerritt Frank, with leading a task force to address the appropriate structure for supporting interdisciplinary programs across campus. The specific arrangement between the School of Health Professions and the Master of Public Health Program will be evaluated annually to confirm its benefit to the program and the University.  Should a better mechanism for supporting interdisciplinary programs be developed in the future, the Master of Public Health Program would be a primary candidate for movement under a new interdisciplinary office structure.

The original press lease can be found here.

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