Colorado’s Higher Education Leaders Combine Efforts to Create an Accredited Collaborative School of Public Health

Colorado’s three leading public research universities are combining expertise and efforts to develop a new Colorado School of Public Health with the goal of enhancing public health education, research and service within the state and throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

The school is intended to place Colorado at the forefront nationally in public health-related areas ranging from biosecurity and infectious disease to epidemiology, health education and public health practice.

An inter-institutional memorandum of understanding recently was signed by the presidents of the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado that created an official agreement to collaboratively develop a strategic plan for the school. The universities have six months to develop and present a detailed plan for the proposed school of public health to the governing boards of each institution. Upon approval, the school, which initially will be housed at the CU at Denver and Health Sciences Center campus, followed by locations at the other two institutions, may begin operations as early as 2007.

The establishment of an accredited School of Public Health for Colorado in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will provide opportunities to expand university partnerships and bring together leading experts from a variety of public health specialties. The partnership is expected to lead to the development of new collaborative research initiatives among existing university programs and departments related to public health, enhance professional public health educational opportunities and provide both expanded and improved healthcare services to citizens of Colorado and surrounding states.   

"Opportunities to enhance the public health training and service in Colorado through the Colorado School of Public Health are many," said Kay Norton, president of the University of Northern Colorado. "As one example, rural, Native American, Hispanic and inner-city populations will benefit as public health practitioners in Colorado have access to this school."

The partner institutions have agreed that specific new public health educational program development will be cooperative and collaborative.   

"New educational opportunities, such as the creation of a combined doctor of veterinary medicine/master’s of public health program, will provide the advanced workforce needed to address not only local health issues but global challenges such as tuberculosis, AIDS, West Nile virus and other diseases," said Larry Edward Penley, president of Colorado State. "Education, research and outreach all will be key components of the Colorado School of Public Health."

University partners currently are conducting in-depth assessments of faculty, classes and administration that will be part of the Colorado School of Public Health. One major goal for the new school will be to gain accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health.

"This is a tremendous opportunity. By pooling the public health resources of the state and its top three research universities, we are confident that we will create one of the nation’s leading schools of public health to benefit Coloradans," said Elizabeth Hoffman, president of the University of Colorado System.