By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – The corporation of Brown University voted on Feb. 13 to approve the creation of a School of Public Health at Brown University beginning July 1, according to Brown spokesman David Orenstein.
Terrie “Fox” Wetle, associate dean of medicine for public health, will serve as the school’s inaugural dean. Her first task will be to gain national accreditation, which should take about two years, according to Orenstein.
The corporation’s action follows unanimous faculty approval in November 2012.
The goal is to accelerate the rapid growth in research and teaching already underway in what is currently the university’s Program in Public Health in the Division of Biology and Medicine, according to Orenstein.
“Areas of public health inquiry and action, such as addiction, geriatrics, epidemiology, health behavior, and biostatistical analysis are of vital social importance as matters of health and policy,” said Brown President Christina Paxson. “Brown is widely known for excellence in these areas and more. With this vote to elevate the program to the status of a school, the university provides our public health faculty and students with an even greater ability to realize their potential as leaders and scholars.
“In continued partnership with The Warren Alpert Medical School, which has nurtured this program for decades, the School of Public Health will make Brown an ever more vital force for improving health in Rhode Island, the nation, and the world,” Paxson said.
There are currently 261 students enrolled in the existing program in public health, including 92 undergraduates.