SPH associate dean Dr. Emily Spence named as incoming ASPPH practice section chair

Dr. Spence

Dr. Emily Spence, associate dean for community engagement and health equity at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth’s School of Public Health, has been elected as incoming chair for the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health’s practice section.

Spence will serve in this role from March 2024 to June 2025, moving to the position of chair from June 2025 to June 2026. She will serve as immediate past chair from June 2026 to June 2027.

ASPPH supports and facilitates the practice efforts of schools and programs of public health, including the application of research to practice, and the collaboration between the academic and practice communities. ASPPH enhances members’ abilities to recruit, train, retain and graduate a diverse and inclusive student body while advancing the professional development and lifelong learning of the public health workforce. The organization partners with many practice organizations and agencies to support and develop the public health workforce. The ASPPH vision is improved health and well-being for everyone, everywhere.

Spence is a community-engaged scholar in the areas of health inequities, program evaluation, interpersonal violence, poverty, homelessness, women’s health, lifestyle interventions and community assessment. She collaborates with community groups and organizations on the design of new programs, as well as the collection and analysis of data used to improve or develop solutions for a healthier community. As a program evaluator, she has assessed numerous public health concerns, including breast cancer, asthma, cradle to career development, violence, trauma, economic well-being, post-incarceration re-entry and women’s wellness.

She has served on the board of directors for local non-profit organizations and as the community outreach core director for the Texas Center for Health Disparities at HSC, a National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence.

“We congratulate Dr. Spence on her election to this national public health leadership position,” said Dr. Shafik Dharamsi, School of Public Health dean. “Her experience and commitment to advancing public health through community-engaged participatory research, education, practice and mobilizing the collective power of community partnerships will help guide the efforts of ASPPH into the future as well as further our work within the School of Public Health and across the communities we serve.”

Spence has recently been working with a local task force to develop a Community Corps model that will be implemented in 2024.

The Community Corps will include a registry of organizational and individuals who partner with the School of Public Health to synergize community-driven research, intervention, education and service initiatives. This initiative is a part of the SPH strategic plan, IMPACT 2030: Commitment to Community, prioritizing collaborative and enduring partnerships to advance health equity and eradicate health disparities.

“We believe that when we mobilize the collective expertise and lived experiences of our community partners, faculty, staff and students, we will be best equipped to transform lives and make substantive progress toward our vision of health equity in every community,” Dr. Spence said.

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