CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) has formally approved Oregon State University's request to begin an accreditation process to become the first nationally accredited College of Public Health and Human Sciences in the state of Oregon.  

Over the next two years of self-study, the college will demonstrate the "capacity and competency" required for accreditation by CEPH, the Washington, D.C., based independent agency authorized by the United States Department of Education to accredit schools of public health. There are 48 accredited schools and colleges of public health in the United States, but none in Oregon.

"As a comprehensive, international research university and Oregon's land grant institution, OSU has established improving human health and wellness as one of our three signature areas of distinction. To advance this area, we have been working on a number of key initiatives since updating our strategic plan in 2009, including establishing this accredited college," said OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Sabah Randhawa.   

According to Tammy Bray, dean of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, modern health care reform requires a comprehensive approach to moving the nation from a system that focuses on sickness to one that focuses on prevention toward achieving and maintaining better health and quality of life for all.

"We are transforming our college to better serve the needs of the people, families and communities in Oregon," Bray said. "The accreditation process allows faculty and staff to design cutting-edge curricula in the classroom and to intentionally build local partnerships in communities across Oregon that focus on prevention, healthy lifestyle and behaviors.

"There is a real advantage to being part of a land grant university," continued Bray. "One important part of that is that we have OSU Extension, which helps students engage in learning beyond the classroom and allows researchers to share discoveries that improve lives and communities."

While the university goes through the accreditation process over the next two years, it will continue to participate in the nationally ranked and accredited Oregon Masters of Public Health program, a collaboration with Portland State University and Oregon Health and Science University. The college has been working closely with its partners over the past few years to plan for this transition.

"Our goal is to build an accredited college that attracts the best and brightest students and faculty to public health," Bray said. "Together with our county, state and education and private sector partners, we are working to build a world-class public health education, research and outreach system for Oregon."

About the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences: Emphasizing a holistic approach to optimal health and disease prevention, researchers focus on nutrition, physical activity, healthy aging, environmental and occupational health, the health of children and older adults, public health policy and access to health services.

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Tammy Bray, 541-737-3526