Kent State Universityâ€™s College of Public Health has established a new Office of Public Health Practice and a Center for Public Policy and Health, two externally focused college units that offer services to health departments, hospital systems, government agencies and non-governmental organizations. These two new units will provide links between Kent State and community partners to enable research and assistance to improve public health and to foster workforce development and student experiential learning.
The Office of Public Health Practice at Kent State will provide workforce development programs for public health professionals to meet continuing education requirements. For example, an online review course for the Ohio registered sanitarian exam has been developed and is presently in the testing phase. In addition, the Office of Public Health Practice will recruit organizations to provide student experiential learning opportunities, such as field experiences, internships and practicums. Kenneth Slenkovich, Kent Stateâ€™s College of Public Health assistant dean, operations and community relations, heads the new office, and Willie H. Oglesby, Ph.D., assistant professor of health policy and management at Kent State, is the assistant director.
â€œPractitioners have provided strong feedback to us that they need relevant, accessible and cost-effective courses to stay current in their jobs and to meet the continuing education requirements of their licenses and accreditations,â€ Slenkovich explained. â€œWe look forward to providing this assistance and to working with our community partners to identify internship and other field experience opportunities for our students at all levels.â€
Kent Stateâ€™s Center for Public Policy and Health, which provides research and technical assistance to government agencies, nonprofit organizations and community partners, is headed by John Hoornbeek, Ph.D., associate professor of health policy and management at Kent State, and is staffed by Joshua Filla, a Kent State outreach program officer, as well as a cadre of affiliated faculty and experts. The center has already received more than $450,000 in contract and grant support, with assignments including evaluating the effects of consolidation on 12 recent Ohio health department mergers; assisting health departments in Portage County in identifying and pursuing cross-jurisdictional service sharing arrangements; and working on a comprehensive community health needs assessment, related to the 2011 Affordable Care Act, for the three Akron-area hospital systems.
â€œThe new center builds on the foundation of Kent Stateâ€™s former Center for Public Administration and Public Policy, which provided services and research relating to public policy and administration in a range of policy areas for more than 30 years,â€ Hoornbeek said. â€œWe have maintained affiliations with clients and contributors to that center, even as we focus our efforts more intensively on public and environmental health issues through this new center.â€
Late last year, the universityâ€™s College of Public Health signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the College of Arts and Sciences to transfer the center and continue collaborative efforts across the two colleges.
â€œThe new center will assist external organizations that influence public health in improving their effectiveness and efficiency, while providing opportunities for faculty, staff and graduate students to apply their skills and abilities to real-world issues and problems,â€ Hoornbeek explained.
â€œThe center will also work closely with the new Office of Public Health Practice to enable effective research, assistance and continuing education for a range of external audiences,â€ said Sonia Alemagno, Kent Stateâ€™s dean of the College of Public Health. â€œKent State is positioned as a leader in these areas.â€
For more information about Kent Stateâ€™s College of Public Health, visit www.kent.edu/publichealth.
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