November 22, 2005

Claudia Coggin, PhD, CHES, assistant professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, will serve as director of the newly created Center for Public Health Practice at UNT Health Science Center.

With the creation of the center, the School of Public Health will join 29 of the 36 accredited schools of public health in the Association of Schools of Public Health who have a staffed entity that emphasizes practice-related activities within their schools. Practice-based activities include internships and research activities involving faculty, students and the community.

â??When the city of Fort Worth asked us to create a School of Public Health almost six years ago, one of the things that we wanted to do was make sure that the community benefited from having trained public health practitioners here locally,â? said Fernando Trevino, PhD, MPH, dean of the School of Public Health. â??This center continues that proud tradition of community service and focuses even more on the aspect of outreach in Tarrant County and Texas.â?

The purpose of the Center for Public Health Practice is to promote practice-based research and related activities among the school faculty, students and community. Another purpose of the center is to create a connection between the School of Public Health and area communities to facilitate assisting them in addressing public health issues through research and practice-related activities such as internships.

â??I am committed to enhancing the relationships and collaboration between UNT Health Science Center and local, regional and state health departments as well as community agencies,â? said Dr. Coggin.

Dr. Coggin will recruit sites, negotiate contracts and place masterâ??s of public health students at public health practice sites to apply the skills learned in the classroom in a public health setting. Fifteen to 25 masterâ??s students are currently placed each semester in sites throughout the community.

Students may elect to complete their public health practice either in Fort Worth or the surrounding communities or compete for internships or fellowships nationally.

â??Through the center, the community, faculty and community public health professionals will be able to find collaborators for projects and get technical advice from faculty members and students,â? Dr. Trevino said.

An advisory committee for the center composed of public health professionals and community members will be in place by January 2006, Dr. Coggin said.


Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail kacolley@hsc.unt.edu.

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