In March 2021, the Florida A&M University Institute of Public Health (FAMU IPH) received a significant accomplishment. The program received the maximum reaccreditation with no non-compliant findings by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The CEPH Board of Councilors rendered the decision for reaccreditation until 2028. Seven (7) years is the maximum reaccreditation period. The Institute of Public Health is led by Cynthia M. Harris, Ph.D., director of the Institute of Public Health and associate dean of the FAMU College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Institute of Public Health (CoPPS, IPH).
“We are elated about this outcome,” said Dr. Harris. “This outcome is due to the hard work of our outstanding faculty and staff, as well as the wonderful support of our learners, College and University administration, alumni, and community stakeholders.”
The IPH was established in 1995 and is the first public health program to be accredited in North Florida. In June 2000, the IPH received its inaugural maximum accreditation of five years. This level of accreditation is the maximum tenure for inaugural accreditations. Since that inaugural accreditation, the IPH has received maximum reaccreditation (seven years) three consecutive times.
The IPH was already accredited, and the program was notified about the need for reaccreditation approximately two years before submitting the preliminary self-study document. As part of the accreditation process, IPH goes through a “self-study review,” and the preliminary document is sent to CEPH.
The preliminary self-study document was reviewed and approved in November of 2020. The final reaccreditation document was submitted in March of 2021, and the site visit took place on September 21-22, 2021. Unlike previous reviews, where assessors visited the College, the site visit review took place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The self-study process is long and demanding, but it provides an opportunity to critically examine the content of our courses and the competencies we build in our students. Our goal is to ensure our students receive the highest quality public health education possible,” said Dr. Tammie Johnson, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Institute of Public Health and CEPH self-study coordinator.
Several key initiatives helped the IPH achieve re-accreditation. These initiatives included: The program offers the opportunity for active community service, learners engaging in exceptional practicum experiences, and exemplary instruction by faculty.
“The Institute of Public Health has been able to maintain its preeminence during challenging times,” said CoPPS, IPH Dean, Dr. Johnnie Early, II. “The public health faculty and staff’s commitment to academic excellence and continuous improvement and signifies to our learners, both prospective and current, that the program provides exceptional public health education, which is vital to its impact on the community.
The housing of public health education in a pharmacy school was aged by more than two decades. The collaboration of both programs facilitates research funding and publications. The first publication from the College during the pandemic involved faculty from both units, which addressed the impact of COVID-19 in rural communities.”