First of several events to commemorate a decade of impact and excellence
ATLANTA—More than 100 students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters gathered on campus to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Georgia State University School of Public Health.
Located in the heart of Atlanta at one of America’s most innovative and diverse research universities, the Georgia State SPH educates the next generation of public health leaders while conducting research and outreach that advances health equity.
“In many important ways, the trajectory of the School of Public Health mirrors that of Georgia State University as a whole,” said Georgia State President M. Brian Blake. “Its enterprising faculty and staff are dedicated to advancing the frontiers of knowledge, connecting with communities in Atlanta and beyond, and educating a diverse public health workforce for our state and world.”
The School of Public Health was founded in 2013, but its history dates back much further. To address the growing demand for a well-educated public health workforce and to capitalize on Atlanta’s status as a global hub of public health expertise, GSU launched a graduate certificate in public health program in 2002. The Institute of Public Health, as it was then known, added new students and faculty through a Master of Public Health program and then a Ph.D. program before becoming a standalone School of Public Health in 2013. Later milestones in the school’s history include the Mark Chaffin Center for Healthy Development within the SPH becoming a University Research Center in 2015 and the launch of a Bachelor of Science in Public Health program in 2016 and a DrPH program in 2018.
“I’m very proud of what we’ve created with the Georgia State University School of Public Health,” said Regents’ Professor Michael Eriksen, who served as the school’s founding Dean from 2013 through 2019. “We are fully accredited with over 2,000 alumni, offering degrees at the undergraduate level all the way through doctoral training, and most recently, a CDC Foundation-funded global tobacco research post-doctoral training program. Over the years, we have had the privilege to educate and learn from 100 Fulbright students from around the world.”
Provost Nicolle Parsons-Pollard noted that the Georgia State SPH has grown dramatically—both in size and stature—over the past decade. Among public institutions, the school is now ranked among the nation’s top 25 public health programs. The school’s $17.8 million in sponsored research and service activity during fiscal year 2023 is nearly 80% greater than just four years ago and is the second highest level in the school’s history.
“One of the pillars of Georgia State’s new strategic plan is ‘Beyond College to Career,’” and one of the examples the progress that we've made this area is evident here in the School of Public Health,” she said, noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in nearby DeKalb County is the school’s top employer of alumni. “Graduates of the school go on to hold competitive leadership positions in academia, local, state and federal government, and in a wide range of public health organizations and agencies.”
The 10th Anniversary Kickoff Celebration is the first in a series of events that commemorate the school’s founding. Among other events, the SPH will host a panel for students on public health career opportunities in the Atlanta area, a faculty/staff appreciation event and an alumni homecoming in November that coincides with the 2023 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Public Health in Atlanta.
“I’m immensely proud of everything that the School of Public Health has accomplished over the past 10 years, and I’m also incredibly enthusiastic about what’s ahead and what we can accomplish together over the next several years,” said Dean Rodney Lyn. “To the students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the school, you are the heart and soul of our school. Each of you chose the School of Public Health and help make it what it is today.”
Learn more about the School of Public Health’s decade of impact and excellence at publichealth.gsu.edu/anniversary.
Writer: Sam Fahmy, [email protected]; photos by Meg Buscema