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Tuscarawas News Detail

College Configures to Serve Community Partners with Research, Assistance and Education

Posted Jan. 31, 2013

The college has established a new Office of Public Health Practice and Partnerships and a Center for Public Policy and Health.  These externally focused units offer services to health departments, hospital systems, government agencies and non-governmental organizations.  The two new units provide links between Kent State and community partners to enable research and assistance to improve public health and to foster workforce development and student experiential learning.
“We’re developing a national reputation for practice-based research.  Robust interest in these entities is proof,” observes Dean Sonia Alemagno, Ph.D.  “By leveraging our faculty and student resources in research and technical assistance, we boost the college’s impact on community health,” she says.
The Office of Public Health Practice and Partnerships will provide workforce development programs for public health professionals to meet continuing education requirements.  For example, an online review course for the Ohio registered sanitarian exam has been developed and is in the testing phase at present.  (See related story.)  In addition, the Office of Public Health Practice and Partnerships will recruit organizations to provide student experiential learning opportunities, such as field experiences, internships and practicums.  Ken Slenkovich, assistant dean, operations and community relations, heads the new office, and Willie H. Oglesby, Ph.D., assistant professor, Health Policy & Management, is the assistant director.

“Practitioners have provided strong feedback to us that they need relevant, accessible and cost-effective courses to stay current in their jobs and to meet the continuing education requirements of their licenses and accreditations,” explains Slenkovich.  “We look forward to providing this assistance and to working with our community partners to identify internship and other field experience opportunities for our students at all levels,” he concludes.
The Center for Public Policy and Health (CCPH), which provides research and technical assistance to government agencies, nonprofit organizations and community partners, is headed by John Hoornbeek, Ph.D., associate professor of Health Policy & Management, and is staffed by Joshua Filla, outreach program officer, as well as a cadre of affiliated faculty and experts.  The center has already received more than $450,000 in contract and grant support, with assignments including one to evaluate the effects of consolidation on 12 recent Ohio health department mergers; others to assist health departments in Portage County in identifying and pursuing cross-jurisdictional service sharing arrangements; and a comprehensive community health needs assessment, related to the 2010 Affordable Care Act, for the three Akron-area hospital systems.  (See related story.)
“The new center builds on the foundation of Kent State’s former Center for Public Administration and Public Policy (CPAPP), which provided services and research in a range of areas for more than 30 years,” says Hoornbeek.  “We’ve maintained affiliations with clients and contributors to that center, even as we focus our efforts more intensively on public and environmental health issues through this new center.”
Late last year, the College of Public Health signed a memorandum of understanding with the College of Arts and Sciences to transfer CPAPP and continue collaborative efforts across the two colleges.
“The new center will assist external organizations that influence public health in improving their effectiveness and efficiency, while providing opportunities for faculty, staff and graduate students to apply their skills and abilities to real-world issues and problems,” explains Hoornbeek.
“The center will also work closely with the new Office of Public Health Practice and Partnerships to enable effective research, assistance and continuing education for a range of external audiences,” said Alemagno.  “Kent State is positioned as a leader in these areas,” she observes.