President Genshaft invites Dr. Rita DeBate to lead Healthy Campus initiative

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Professor Rita DeBate, PhD, MPH, FAED, is co-chair of the Healthy Campus 2020 Steering Committee, a group tasked with improving the overall health and wellness of USF students.

In May 2011, the USF System President issued a proclamation in support of the “Exercise is Medicine” movement. “Soon thereafter, a task force was established to explore how best to implement the initiative at the University of South Florida,” Dr. Judy Genshaft said. “Moving forward, USF is looking to adopt the Healthy Campus 2020 framework which aims to improve the health status of campuses nationwide.”

“It is prudent to USF to combine our resources and talents to enhance the health, wellness and safety of our campus, and I believe you are an important part of that effort,” President Genshaft said in an e-mail to Dr. DeBate.


According to the Healthy Campus 2020 website, its strategies “extend beyond traditional interventions of education, diagnosis, treatment, and health care at clinical levels. Through the collaborative efforts of health, academic, student affairs, and administrative colleagues, institutions of higher education can foster healthy environments and behaviors.”

A member of the USF College of Public Health faculty, Dr. DeBate’s research interests include adolescent health, positive youth development, women’s health, and secondary prevention of eating disorders.  She is a fellow with the American Academy of Health Behavior and the Academy for Eating Disorders. Currently, she serves on the AAHB Board of Directors and is president for 2013-14.

In addition to her professional leadership positions, Dr. DeBate shares her practice and her passion with the USF College of Public Health. She is assistant dean for graduate programs and a professor in the Department of Community and Family Health.  The department offers more than 10 concentrations that lead to MPH, MSPH, DrPH, and PhD degrees, as well as several dual degrees, graduate certificates, and special programs.