Future School of Public Health

OHSU PSU School of Public Health


School of Public Health

Building on the success of the Oregon Masters of Public Health (OMPH) program, OHSU and PSU are working together to collaboratively establish a School of Public Health. The interim stage of this collaboration—while Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH) "school" accreditation is pursued—is the OHSU-PSU Joint Programs in Public Health. Although many details of this exciting collaborative effort are still being addressed, we want to share with you the ongoing progress toward establishing a collaborative school of public health that—through world-class education, research and community engagement programs—addresses the social determinants of health that are critical to maintaining health and well-being throughout the lifecycle.

Oregon MPH ⇒ OHSU-PSU Joint Programs in Public Health ⇒ OHSU-PSU School of Public Health (SPH) ⇒ Eliminating disparities for better Health in Oregon and beyond


The State of Our Health 2013:  Key Health Indicators for Oregonians Monograph - View for IPad

The State of Our Health 2013:  Key Health Indicators for Oregonians Monograph - PDF


Elena Andresen, Ph.D., F.A.C.E., Appointed Interim Dean to lead the establishment of the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health

Elena Andresen will be the interim dean for the new joint OHSU-Portland State University School of Public Health.  She is currently a professor in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and director of the CDC-funded Oregon Office on Disability & Health (www.oodh.org) at the Institute on Development and Disability (www.ohsuidd.org) at OHSU.  In her role, Dr. Andresen will serve as the academic and administrative leader during this time of critical development for the new school.  The planning OHSU-PSU School of Public Health is based on the strong collaboration between the two universities and builds on the thriving Oregon Masters of Public Health (OMPH program, which holds Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accreditation.

OHSU-PSU School of Public Health Timeline

Future OHSU-PSU School of Public Health Update - Spring 2014

OHSU and PSU Provosts launch search to fill new position: Interim Dean, future OHSU-PSU School of Public Health.  Applications and letters of nomination welcome

OHSU-PSU School of Public Health Advertisement in The Nation's Health

OHSU-PSU announcing 3 new Ph.D. programs

Ph.D. in Epidemiology PhD Website

Ph.D. in Helalth Systems and Policy Website

Ph.D. in Community Health Website


As a result of an initial SPH workgroup, input from OHSU and PSU Faculty, and the ongoing work of the OHSU-PSU SPH Steering Committee, a common vision for a unique SPH has coalesced. We believe this vision encompasses all the thematic areas identified as strengths, can be broadly interpreted, and will help build a workforce with special skills, knowledge, and attitudes. This focus will create a unique SPH with a mission and goals that are well-aligned with critical societal needs and social equity: 

The School of Public Health Vision 2013 

Through education, research and community engagement, the School of Public Health will be a leader in promoting health and eliminating disparities in Oregon and beyond.

The School of Public Health Mission 2013

The mission of the School of Public Health is to prepare a public health workforce, create new knowledge, address social determinants, and lead in the implementation of new approaches and policies to improve the health of populations.

The School of Public Health Goals 2013

  • To create an innovative and collaborative School of Public Health (SPH) that addresses key issues of health policy and disparities;
  • To meet Oregon's public health workforce needs; and
  • To create excellent educational and research opportunities for students and faculty.

The School will strive to implement its vision, mission and goals by creating a workforce that is competent in community engagement, and a faculty that advances knowledge through appropriate research directed toward its local, international and special communities. To this end, all educational programs in the SPH will have, at their core, courses that educate all students in the following core competencies:

SPH Core Competencies 2013

All graduates of the School of Public Health will act ethically and demonstrate cultural competence to 1) Integrate social determinants into public health science, practice and policy; 2) Engage with communities to improve population health; and 3) Apply public health knowledge and skills to eliminate health disparities.


May 2011–An initial visioning retreat was held bringing together over 50 Faculty from OHSU and PSU to discuss the goal of creating a School of Public Health (SPH) in which both institutions participate.

  • An initial brainstorming session began to identify the potential themes that could make a SPH unique.
  • Eight workgroups were identified to further assess potential resources, current curriculum, strengths and weaknesses associated with each of the identified themes.
  • The product of each workgroup was collected and summarized for subsequent review by the workgroups in preparation for the second visioning session.

January 2012– Review of Workgroup Theme Contributions

The following definitions of each thematic area were developed by the assigned workgroup:

a) Life Course – Health involves events that happen over time. Those influences include social and biological factors, cultural beliefs, history, politics, economics, and individual behaviors. Strengths were identified in maternal child health, family planning, development and aging.

b) Global Health – Use public health approaches to develop, administer, implement, and evaluate culturally sensitive health promotion, disease-prevention and behavior-change programs, as well as to mobilize community resources for planned social change.

c) Community Engagement – A powerful, recognized strength in both institutions for integrating community-based learning, more traditional field experiences and similar forms of experiential learning, students participate in co-curricular service projects and community-based research.

d) Social Determinants of Health – Focuses on the health outcomes of circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age. The theme addresses the epidemiology, prevention, and improvement of social factors, as well as relationships among social and biologic factors, influencing physical and mental health, locally, nationally, and globally.

e) Public Health Informatics – Focuses on a major growing area within the larger field of biomedical and health informatics. Biomedical and health informatics is about capturing, using, and applying information. In the public health sphere. It includes activities such as enhancing disease surveillance and reporting with data from clinical (electronic health record) systems; extending biological research (e.g., genomics) to populations to assess the impact of genes and their interaction with behavior, diet, and the environment on the population's health; and empowering people and communities to improve their health with information tools, such as mobile applications and personal health records.

f) Urban Health – Focuses on the impact of the built environment on human health and how judicious planning of urban environments can lead to improved community health and well-being.

The initial analysis conducted by the workgroups clearly indicates that there are a large number of courses through all of the areas required for accreditation.


January 2012 - June 2013 – Ongoing planning and work of the SPH Steering Committee have driven development of the infrastructure and drafts of a SPH business plan and MOU. An "equity model" has been adopted for developing the SPH.This model establishes:

  • One School of Public Health with one Dean, who reports to 2 Provosts (OHSU and PSU);
  • One "primary" faculty, with primary appointments in the SPH; and
  • One unified student body, which has primary identify as students within the SPH.

MOU. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between OHSU and PSU is being developed that establishes the collaborative agreement, including academic and student affairs/services, as well as faculty, programmatic, governance and financial issues. Once the MOU is signed by all parties, it becomes effective and will continue to be effective until June 30, 2018. One party must give the other party at least one year's written notice of the intent to terminate the agreement, which both parties agree to revisit for possible refinement and renewal by June 30, 2017.

SPH Degree Programs. CEPH accreditation criteria for a SPH require 5 MPH programs (biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, health services administration, and social and behavioral sciences); 3 PhD programs (epidemiology, health systems & policy, and community health); as well as public health workforce development programs. These required programs now exist within OHSU and PSU, or are currently being developed. New degree programs being developed include:  1) PhD in Epidemiology (OHSU), 2) PhD in Health Systems & Policy (PSU), and 3) MPH in Environmental Systems & Human Health (OHSU).  Following approval by the respective institutions and the State Board of Higher Education, we anticipate that students will be able to matriculate or transfer into these programs this year. Except for MPH degree programs based at OSU, it is proposed that all OMPH programs migrate to the new SPH when it receives school accreditation status and that online and certificate option continue.

SPH Business Plan. A business plan is in the early stages of development. At this point, a simple, adaptable, non-departmentalized model has been adopted. The financial plan/budget has a centralized shared services model. No "bricks and mortar" are distinct expenses for the SPH. The SPH will sit within both institutions' budgets. The business plan will be shared within both institutions for faculty and administrative input.

Public Health Monograph. In May 2013, The State of Our Health 2013: Key Health Indicators for Oregonians was published and continues to be shared with public health and policy leaders throughout the state. As Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and Portland State University (PSU) continue to work together to establish a new school of public health, this monograph serves as a symbol of collaboration—both between our respected universities, and with the many organizations and individuals promoting public health in the state. The monograph, an OHSU publication developed with expertise commissioned from PSU, is also emblematic of our shared dedication to protecting the health of communities in Oregon as we move forward with our work. The monograph reflects the significant input from numerous partners who contributed their time, expertise, and data to this project.


The School of Public Health Steering Committee includes members from each institution in addition to the Provosts.The Steering Committee is developing and implementing a work plan, timeline, as well as an organizational and financial model. The School of Public Health Steering Committee consists of the following OHSU/PSU Faculty Members:

School of Public Health Steering Committee Members



Elena Andresen, PhD

Chief, Disability & Health Research Group, OHSU

Sona Andrews, PhD

Provost, PSU

Thomas Becker, MD, PhD

Chair, Public Health & Preventive Medicine, OHSU

Jennifer Boyd, PhD, MBA

Assistant Vice Provost for Strategic Planning & Program Development, OHSU

Katherine Bradley, PhD

Clinical Associate Professor, OHSU 

Carlos Juan Crespo, DrPH

Professor, School of Community Health Director, Center for Public Health Studies, Director, Community Health – Urban and Public Affairs, PSU

Veronica Dujon, PhD

Associate Dean, Curriculum Development & Enrollment Management, Liberal ARts and Sciences, PSU

Sherril Gelmon, DrPH

Professor of Public Health, PSU

Jeanette Mladenovic, MD, MBA, MACP

Provost, OHSU

Laurie Powers, PhD

Professor, Associate Dean for Research, Regional Research Institute – Social Work

David Robinson, PhD

Executive Vice Provost, OHSU

Steven Shea, PhD

Director, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, OHSU

Liana Winett, DrPH, MCHES

Research Associate Professor, School of Community Health, PSU