Dean's Update

October 15, 2021 - Aron Sousa, MD


One of the core projects for educational programs is accreditation. It is always a lot of work, and it takes a special team to bring the energy and enthusiasm required to successfully get a program accredited. Our Master of Public Health degree program (MPH) has that team. A week ago, the last of the material updates were sent to the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). And, on November 11 and 12, CEPH will do a site visit of the MPH at its home base in Flint.

Getting the MPH through the CEPH accreditation system has been a long-standing goal for the college. It has not been easy, which speaks to the quality of Director Wayne McCullough’s leadership and the great accreditation team he has put together. Kudos to Connie Currier for her great work on this project – if anyone has been through the thick and thin of the program over its history, it’s Connie! (Pictured L-R: Wayne McCullough, Connie Currier, and Lynne Lievens.)

I’ve done a lot of accreditation work in my career, and I have the greatest respect for the MPH faculty and staff as they’ve brought us right up to the finish line. Truthfully, people doing accreditation work are careful not to talk about a site visit as a finish line. There is always work to do after the visit, and accreditation nationally has moved toward a continuous process improvement model. That said, the site visit on Nov 11-12 is a great step on the pathway.

The last couple of years have been remarkable for the MPH. As an example, admissions are up from about 30 in 2020, to 80 so far in 2021. Some of that may be the impact of COVID-19, or students choosing the program because of accreditation, or the overall work of the Division of Public Health. In any case, the program has a healthy 164 student enrollment on the path to their MPH degrees.

All students who graduated after the program entered the final pathway for CEPH accreditation in 2019 count as graduating from an accredited MPH and share in crossing the finish line too.

The pandemic has demonstrated how interconnected public health is with law, community life, medicine, communication, media, and…politics. To help prepared MPH students and explain the place of public health in our state, MPH faculty Robey Champine, PhD, and John Clements, PhD, have created MPH courses on the pandemic. HM 862: Global Pandemics and Public Health Systems, Law, and Community Impacts is an elective for undergraduates, MPH students, and graduate students about our system of public health and COVID-19. A free, publicly available course, Promoting Public Health in Michigan in the Face of COVID-19, has helped 230 members of the public learn more about COVID-19 and community health in Michigan.

Very soon, the MSU-Henry Ford partnership (HFH+MSU Health Sciences) begins a new phase as researchers at Henry Ford begin the MSU process for formally applying for faculty positions. People like Kathy Huber at Henry Ford and Barbara Forney at MSU have done great work revising our faculty forms and process to be clear and useful for the more than 100 Henry Ford researchers entering the faculty ranks. To be clear, the departmental approval process is unchanged, but people have tried to help clear the red tape. After the researchers complete the process, we will move on to clinicians and other teaching faculty. This is an exciting step that will further integrate the institutions and expand the impact of MSU.

Serving the people with you,


Aron Sousa, MD
Interim Dean

Read more from the Dean's Update archive