Public health in the 21st century – building our future together

Public Health PanelThe power of public health was evident at a recent HSC-hosted event to welcome the new dean of the School of Public Health, Dr. Shafik Dharamsi, and engage with local public health experts to gain their perspectives on building a healthier North Texas community.   

The highly successful event was well attended and featured a panel presentation by guests Angie Hagy, MSPH, deputy director of Tarrant County Public Health; Philip Huang, MD, MPH, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services; Leah King, CFRE, CEO of United Way of Tarrant County; and HSC alumnus Matt Richardson, DrPH, MPH, FACHE, director of Denton County Public Health. 

Research and community service poster presentations by SPH students and faculty were part of the program and provided an opportunity for guests to understand the range of research and teaching activities that the School of Public Health undertakes.  

In line with the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2030 goal of building a healthier future for all, we will develop a socially accountable, community-centric School of Public Health dedicated to the prevention of disease and harm, elimination of health disparities and the promotion of health and equity at home and around the world,” Dharamsi said.  

“The great value of this Public Health in the 21st Century event was the opportunity for our researchers, students, staff and alumni to learn from the wisdom of our local community partners who are working collectively to build a healthier North Texas.   

“Our panelists,” he added, “reminded us that while the pandemic highlighted the challenges an under-resourced national public health system faced, many of our communities have also experienced chronic neglect and disinvestment. Our communities expect public health to do more and do better. 

“In the next era of our School of Public Health, we will amplify efforts to build cross-sector collaboration, implementation science and community-driven solutions toward a breadth and scale necessary to impact health systems, whole health, health equity and the social determinants of health,” the dean noted. 

 “I also see our school leading the way in high-impact educational practices to prepare 21st-century graduates to be changemakers in the public health arena by addressing the social determinants of health and related inequities that negatively impact the quality and conditions of life,” Dharamsi added. “These are major public health-related issues facing our communities today.” 

HSC provost Dr. Charles Taylor said the event was fantastic for the community. 

“It was very informative and allowed us to highlight our commitment to fostering collaborative relationships across all facets of public health to address the health needs of our communities,” he said.   

Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams, HSC President, added that “HSC was honored to have such an esteemed panel of guests join us on campus for our public health forum. The spotlight on public health in our society has never been more prevalent than today. Our innovative School of Public Health focuses on providing all facets of critically needed public health education and research to our students. Additionally, we are committed to fostering collaborative partnerships with our local public health leaders to address health inequities and eliminate disparities in the communities where we live and work.”  

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