USF COPH (still!) the number-one public health school in Florida

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The votes are in, and the USF College of Public Health is still the top public health school in Florida. The college also retains its spot at number 16 in the nation, sandwiched between Yale and Brown Universities.

The rankings were conducted by U.S. News and World Report and were based on peer assessment surveys sent to deans, other administrators and/or faculty at accredited degree programs and schools. Respondents then rated the academic quality of the programs based on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (outstanding).

Overall, 177 schools and programs of public health accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health were included, making the competition particularly stiff. In previous years, only schools of public health were included.

“This ranking is outstanding,” said Dr. Donna Petersen, dean of the COPH and a senior associate vice president of USF Health, “especially since this year programs, and not just schools, were added in. And there are programs at some very prestigious universities, like Washington University in St. Louis, Tufts and Northwestern.”

Dean Donna Petersen, ScD, MHS, CPH, stands outside the USF College of Public Health. (Photo courtesy of USF Health)

Petersen credits the college’s reputation for innovative curricula, community engagement and strong research for helping it keep its high rankings.

“We have an incredible faculty doing important work that contributes to science and all that affects public health. I think as our research reputation grows, it affects how people view us.”

The fact that a large number of the college’s faculty are certified in public health (CPH) is another point of pride.

“We are a practice-based college,” Petersen said, “and the high volume of professors who are certified speaks to that. We are preparing professionals to work in the field and engage in important public health work. And that’s well known.”

The COPH retained its spot as the number-one public heath school in Florida—something Petersen says is a testament to college’s history, size and diversity in terms of program offerings.

But there’s always more room at the top.

“We love our colleagues at the University of Florida, Florida International University and the University of Miami and we enjoy working with them,” commented Petersen. “We’d like to see them move up in the rankings, because Florida should move up in general, and that’s something we would like to work on in the future.”

Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health