State of the College Address aims for the future

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For more than 30 years, the USF College of Public Health has played an active role in advancing the public’s health—at home and around the world.

COPH Dean Dr. Donna Petersen delivers the State of the College address Sept. 22 at the Sam Bell Auditorium.

While the COPH aims to focus on the future, as highlighted by Dean Donna Petersen during the State of the College Address on September 22, Petersen began by speaking of the present and acknowledging students, faculty and staff who put in hours of time and dedication helping with relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey and Irma.

“It is really emblematic of who we are as a college and how important our people are to us and to the community,” she said.

Adjunct faculty Elizabeth Dunn, MPH, CPH, and undergraduate student Jay Rajyaguru were honored for their disaster relief efforts (Photo by Fredrick Coleman).

Petersen highlighted all of the achievements and honors of faculty staff and students from the past year, including Sandhya Srinivasan being named chair of the ASSPH Learning Futures Forum and Dr. Russ Kirby as president-elect of the American College of Epidemiology.

The COPH also created a common core between PhD and DrPh programs focused on research, practice, leadership and professional development. USF will be the first public health program in the country to connect research and practice training in such a proactive way.

Other significant endeavors this year included:

Last year Petersen shared that college leadership believed that the key to our shared future is the ability to recruit and retain our outstanding faculty. This year, she announced that the college invested almost $300,000 in year one of the faculty market salary increases to make them competitive with the faculty salaries at other colleges of public health. Year two of the plan begins in January 2018.

Petersen also took a moment to recognize the faculty and staff who have earned the CPH designation.

“While we have the most faculty with their CPH in the country, we want to continue to have our faculty sit for the exam and earn the certification,” Petersen said. “That signals something very important to students applying to this college, that we are a professional college with professional faculty who value public health and are willing to do what we ask of our students.”

Students, faculty and staff attended the annual State of College Address (Photos by Fredrick Coleman).

In closing, Petersen thanked everyone involved with making the COPH a success.

“As in the past, we have a lot to do but I know we can do it,” Petersen said. “We will continue to succeed and exceed expectations, on campus, in the community and around the world. We will grow enrollment, funding and our reputation. Stay tuned for another great year!”

Story by Caitlin Keough, USF College of Public Health. Photos by Fredrick Coleman, USF Morsani College of Medicine