New Public Health School Opens in Maryland

A new school of public health near the nation's capital was announced Sept. 26 by the University of Maryland, College Park. "It has been 26 years since we opened a new school. So it is with great pride that I announce the launch of the new University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health," the university's president, C.D. Mote, Jr., wrote in his invitation to the campus community.

The UM School of Public Health (www.sph.umd.edu), an expansion of the university's College of Health and Human Performance, will make improving health literacy a major priority.

The school received a $2 million gift to establish the Herschel S. Horowitz Endowed Chair in Health Literacy, thus laying the foundation for what UM described as the nation's first academic center on health literacy, the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy.

UM officials said the school is not an unnecessary duplication of the existing Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health because the latter is private, while UM's is public. And while Bloomberg focuses more on global health issues, the UM school will focus on health disparities and issues (HIV, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, for example) in Maryland and the region, they said.

Robert S. Gold, dean of the school, said training new federal, state, and local public health leaders and workers is an important goal of the project. "As the baby boomers retire, the American Public Health Association projects that 25 percent of state public health workers will also retire by 2010," he said. "Not only will that create a critical shortage of public health professionals, we will have a huge new population of retired and elderly who will need health care. The graduates of the University of Maryland School of Public Health will help us meet the public health challenges of the coming decades."

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