Jackson State University’s School of Public Health (SPH) is now the only program of its kind in the state to earn accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
SPH, which now designates itself as the “Mississippi School of Public Health@JSU,” began the arduous credentialing process in 2016 when it gained significant support from administrators, Gov. Phil Bryant and special appropriation from the state legislature.
JSU President William B. Bynum Jr. said JSU continues to be a leader on the national stage.
Bynum said, “This is a remarkable accomplishment for Jackson State and the state of Mississippi and beyond. Our goals are to continue to make impactful advances for our state and nation in the field of public health and increase life expectancy and the public’s well-being.”
Dr. Lynda Brown-Wright, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, described the watershed moment as one of the greatest accomplishments destined to shape the quality of health of all mankind.
Brown-Wright said, “The faculty in the School of Public Health were among the original architects of the Jackson Heart Study. Through this accreditation, Jackson State continues to show significant leadership in demonstrating the importance of HBCUs, and I anticipate that the School of Public Health will continue its vision in advancing research and the delivery of quality healthcare in Mississippi and the region.”
In addition, Brown-Wright said, “With the national push to address the health concerns of the underserved, the accreditation of the School of Public Health places Jackson State at the center of the national conversation and future national and global research agendas.”
Meanwhile, after he was named interim dean in 2016, Dr. Mohammad Shahbazi immediately began reorganizing the academic programs housed inside the Jackson Medical Mall, declaring that “public health practices have added 25 years to the life expectancy of people in the U.S.” He commends professionals in the field for keeping food and water supply safe, preventing outbreak of infectious diseases, eliminating health disparities and providing access to healthcare.”
Proudly, Shahbazi said, “Such accreditation means that the JSU SPH has voluntarily held itself to a set of quality standards and will continue to do so. It means the school will continue to attract the brightest and best students and researchers. Prospective students can feel confident knowing that JSU SPH has received the stamp of approval from the only accrediting body of public health schools and programs in the world.”
Furthermore, he said, “It also means that employers of our students can feel confident about our graduates’ knowledge and skills. They are well prepared to enter the workplace and take on challenges as leaders to prevent diseases and promote and protect the health of people they will be charged to serve. Additionally, the public can feel confident knowing that graduates from the JSU SPH are optimally prepared professionals who will solve public health problems and change health outcomes that can lead to increased life expectancies.”
Shahbazi is also quick to point out that credit for the accreditation is widespread. He named administrators, faculty, staff, students and community representatives for the milestone and a self-study report that resulted in a favorable site visit from CEPH in May 2018.
An official notice from the governing board was released earlier this month:
“On behalf of the Council on Education for Public Health … we are pleased to advise you that the CEPH Board of Councilors acted at its Nov. 2, 2018, meeting to accredit the Jackson State University School of Public Health for a five-year term, with an interim report due in fall 2019.”
Shahbazi said SPH will continue to build upon its work by launching online programs, welcoming dual degrees and expanding its mission globally to focus on the social determinants of health.