HSC School of Public Health releases IMPACT 2030 strategic plan

Dean Shafik DharamsiThe School of Public Health at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth has released its new strategic plan – IMPACT 2030: Commitment to Community – to steer the course of the school into the future.

“The completion of this plan represents months of tireless effort, inclusive collaboration and comprehensive internal and external input, reflecting a deep commitment to partnerships as the key to achieving health equity in every community,” said Dr. Shafik Dharamsi, School of Public Health dean.

The new plan includes the School of Public Health promise to students, partners and community, based on the guiding principles of transformative education, engaged scholarship, social accountability, a community-centered approach and global relevance.

“We are hopeful that this plan will resonate powerfully with the diverse local, national and international audiences it is designed to reach,” Dharamsi noted.

The plan aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the U.S. Healthy People 2030 plan and HSC’s Whole Health initiative, focused on empowering people to discover, receive and participate in care for their body, mind, spirit and environment within and through their communities. The SPH strategic plan also follows the HSC Values of Courageous Integrity, Be Curious, We Care, Better Together and Show Your Fire.

Sustainable Development, Healthy People, the SPH commitment

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals represent a comprehensive global agenda aimed at addressing pressing public health challenges and fostering sustainable development by 2030. 17 interconnected goals – covering poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality, clean water, climate action and related concerns that all play a critical role in improving health outcomes and eliminating health disparities – serve as a universal call to action, urging collaboration across various sectors toward a more equitable, resilient and sustainable world.

Healthy People 2030 is based on the vision of a society in which all people can achieve their full potential for health and well-being across the lifespan.

The HSC-SPH strategic plan identifies three primary goals: to elevate the school as a socially accountable, community-centered and globally relevant institution for the advancement of health equity across the life course; to equip graduates to address pressing public health and health systems challenges using community-centered approaches; and to advance a transformative research agenda for public health impact and health equity.

“The HSC School of Public Health has undertaken a noble commitment: to focus teaching, research and practice within a community context – in essence, teaching students to become practitioners and providers with the community as our ‘patient.’ The recently unveiled strategic plan requires that faculty and students serve alongside community members, not in a vacuum or from an ivory tower, but as friends and coworkers, in an applied approach to learning where each academic task and assignment is linked to improving the health of those around us,” said Dr. Matt Richardson, director of Denton County Public Health.

“This change takes courage and vision to break through the constraints of typical academic approaches. Visioning matters: using a learning environment to immediately help those around us in need. I’m energized and excited by this refined focus and proud to be an HSC alumnus.”

In agreement was Dr. Glenn Forister, dean of the HSC School of Health Professions, who said, “There is so much power in practical learning. Students who see an immediate impact in their communities will remain motivated to work through the inevitable challenges of their professional journey.”

Dr. Dimitrios Karamichos, interim dean of the HSC School of Biomedical Sciences added, “The future of public health efforts will shift away from individuals with clinical expertise toward a system that depends and thrives on utilizing multidisciplinary skills such as AI, clinical practice and community needs. Ultimately, we have to have a system that can be agile and more efficiently solve problems. The SPH strategic plan is at the heart of such transition and will position our school as one of the best in the nation in the very near future. I cannot wait to see where Dr. Dharamsi and his team will take SPH next.”

Local and national partners support the new SPH initiative

SPH also received national mention on this effort, with a response from Dr. Laura Magaña, president & CEO of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health.

“This strategic plan underscores the School of Public Health at The University of North Texas Health Science Center’s unwavering commitment to eradicating health disparities and promoting health equity through the pillars of education, research and service. Their steadfast dedication to forging partnerships with local, national and global communities will serve as a beacon, lighting the path forward in achieving universal health equity. ASPPH applauds the school’s exemplary leadership and resolute commitment to this vision. We eagerly anticipate witnessing the transformative initiatives the school will enact to foster thriving communities,” she said.

Local partner JPS Health Network noted that it “stands in partnership with the HSC School of Public Health for its commitment to the health of Tarrant County residents.

“The School of Public Health continues to identify pressing health challenges while producing long-term solutions that will address health inequities in the North Texas community and beyond,” said Dr. Karen Duncan, JPS CEO and president.

UNT Dallas School of Behavioral and Human Services dean Dr. Constance Lacy, representing another SPH partner, said, “Your plan clearly outlines the direction the school is moving toward in 2030, and it’s a great achievement. We are thrilled to be a collaborative partner in your endeavors, and we are looking forward to continuing to work with you. Additionally, we are excited to see UNT Dallas public health undergraduate students pursue their educational goals at the Health Science Centers. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to this important field.”

Dr. Rodney Lyn, Georgia State University School of Public Health dean, called the plan “a model for centering community, health equity and social accountability.”

“HSC’s School of Public Health is poised for elevated reach and impact,” he said.

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