Public Health Studies Program Receives CEPH Accreditation

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Public Health Studies Program in UNCW’s School of Health and Applied Human Sciences has received accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health, one of four programs in the nation to receive the designation.

The program is among the first national cohort to pursue accreditation for its undergraduate program.

“CEPH is widely recognized as the accrediting organization of public health programs in the world. To be in the very first cohort of standalone undergraduate programs to receive this accreditation is a testament to the quality of faculty this program has and to the level of support this institution provides its degree programs,” said SHAHS Director Chris Lantz. “It’s simply an outstanding affirmation of this program’s quality and places it as one of the preeminent undergraduate public health programs in the nation.”

SHAHS began the accreditation process four years ago when the program faculty decided to transition from a community health education structure to the broader, more inclusive public health structure, Lantz explained. The school engaged in an 18-month comprehensive self-study and hosted a CEPH site review team in November 2015.

“UNCW benefits by having academic programs that are competency driven and have been determined by an external arbiter, through a comprehensive evaluative process, to meet the most rigorous standards of the profession,” Lantz noted. “Our students who receive their education through these accredited programs receive the best academic experiences the academy can provide. As UNCW continues to expand its accredited programs, so too does it increase its national profile of excellence in education.”

Approximately 150 students are currently enrolled in the Public Health Studies Program, which is one of the fastest growing academic programs at UNCW.

The CEPH Board of Councilors approved the five-year accreditation during its meeting held June 15-18. The Council on Education for Public Health is an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and public health programs. These schools and programs prepare students for entry into careers in public health.

To be considered for accreditation, programs must meet certain criteria, including addressing the health of populations and the community through instruction, research and service; providing a special learning environment that supports interdisciplinary communication; and promoting a broad intellectual framework for problem-solving that fosters the development of professional public health values.

“The accreditation of our undergraduate public health studies program by the Council on Education for Public Health is a landmark accomplishment,” said Charles Hardy, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “We anticipate that enrollment in our program will be positively impacted by this designation. I am so proud of the faculty in the Public Health Studies Program.”

--Venita Jenkins