“Our strategic plan is your strategic plan,” said Dr. Donna Petersen, dean of the USF College of Public Health, as she expressed gratitude toward an audience of almost 150 familiar colleagues during the 30th Anniversary Community Partner Celebration on March 27.
More than three dozen local, state, national and international organizations attended out of 70 nominated by COPH faculty and staff. Dr. Petersen has been working on ways to help solve public health problems we face today, in days past and in years to come. Instead of publishing a report, which has finality, she invited her audience to visit the online forum to keep the conversation going.
Dr. Charles Mahan, dean emeritus of USF College of Public Health, recalled earlier times, when students and faculty didn’t go out to communities.
“Things have really changed,” he said, noting one of the first goals attained was offering the master’s of public health to those already working in the field via satellite, an early version of online courses.
Community partnerships ranging in fields of cancer, senior health, behavioral health, diabetes, and many more, have been a main gateway into gaining knowledge about community health, and have been instrumental in helping place students, as well as participate in research projects for field advancement.
“Nothing happens in public health without our partners,” said Dee Jeffers, RN, MPH, who has been working in communities for many years. Through public health initiatives, the average lifespan of individuals has increased by 25 years. Among the main factors making this possible are partnerships working in 10 areas: immunizations, work-place safety, motor vehicle safety, control of infectious diseases, heart disease, safer and healthier food, healthier mothers and babies, family planning, fluoridation of drinking water, and tobacco as a health hazard. As this list was read out, members of the audience applauded or raised their hand to acknowledge the work their organization does in the area.
The celebration continued with a projected presentation acknowledging organizations who worked with USF COPH throughout the past three decades. COPH has established their ongoing relationships worldwide, from Florida, Nicaragua to Uganda and also Malaysia. Click here to see a commemoration to those partners.
Read the full blog on National Public Health Week at USF Health News