Lory Laing (second right), interim dean of UAlberta's School of Public Health, says accreditation is a milestone in the school's leadership in educating future public health leaders and informing public policy.
(Edmonton) In October 2012, after years of preparation and hard work, the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health was granted accreditation by the U.S. Council on Education for Public Health. This makes the school the first accredited school of public health in Canada, the second outside the United States and the 50th in the world.
Accreditation means that the School of Public Health has voluntarily held itself to a set of quality standards—and will continue to do so. Applicants, students, employers, faculty and staff can feel confident that graduates from the school are well-prepared professionals with the training needed to improve health by identifying, preventing and solving public health problems.
The council’s aim is the improvement of health through the assurance of professional personnel who are able to identify, prevent and solve community health problems. This includes accrediting schools of public health and public health programs.
“The accreditation process requires commitment from administrators, faculty, staff, students and other constituents,” said Laura Rasar King, the council’s executive director. “The council recognizes the efforts of the University of Alberta to make ongoing improvements to ensure that students receive a high-quality education that advances them toward their career goals.”
Bringing together the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research, Centre for Health Promotion Studies and the Department of Public Health Sciences, the U of A consolidated its public health strengths and formed Canada’s only stand-alone faculty dedicated to public health in 2006. Since then, faculty and staff have been working toward the goal of achieving accreditation—a process the U of A has been championing all along.
“This is an example of visionary leadership shown by the University of Alberta to effect positive change in our world. The School of Public Health receiving accreditation reflects excellence in teaching and learning, and the innovative research done at the University of Alberta,” said Martin Ferguson-Pell, acting provost and vice-president (academic).
With this milestone reached, the school’s sights are set toward the future, says interim dean Lory Laing.
“When we come to work and school it will be much like any other day. We will continue educating tomorrow’s public health leaders,” said Laing. “We will carry on with research that informs and influences policy and practice. We will continue to engage in both curiosity-driven and community-driven inquiry, and we will continue to lead the way as Canada’s accredited School of Public Health.”
The council has accredited 50 schools of public health. In addition to the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health, there are 48 in the U.S. and one in Mexico. Accredited schools include Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Harvard University School of Public Health and Yale University School of Public Health.
Video: Lory Laing talks about what accreditation means