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Message from the Director

DePaul Master of Public Health Program
Public Health Leaders for a Changing Urban Landscape

On behalf of the MPH program I would like to welcome our new and returning students to the 2015-16 academic year.  It has been an exciting spring and summer for the MPH Program. 

I would like to welcome four new members of the MPH team this fall.  Please welcome Dr. Suzanne Carlberg-Racich back to campus this year as a tenure-track, Assistant Professor in the MPH program.  Many of us already know Dr. Carlberg-Racich, but in her new position she will have greater opportunity to pursue her research on harm reduction strategies with IV drug using populations in Chicago.

Join me in welcoming Dr. Dan Schrober as a new Clinical Assistant Professor in the MPH program. Dr. Schrober comes from the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He earned his MPH from the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City and his PhD from the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Dr. Schrober brings new and complementary expertise in community assessment, qualitative research, and evaluation.

Also new to MPH is Dr. Jessica Dirkes as the Director of Community Partnerships. Dr. Dirkes earned her MPH from Tulane University and her PhD in Community Health Sciences from the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She brings a tremendous amount of public health practice experience from Chicago, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco, all of which will be valuable in sustaining and creating new community relationships.

I would also like to introduce Briana Lemon as a new MPH program assistant. Ms. Lemon is part of the incoming cohort of MPH students and graduated with her BS in Health Science from Ball State University.  Briana brings experience with undergraduate student health and with Illinois’ Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 

This past year has been vey productive and I am happy to describe our major accomplishments. Congratulations to the MPH Class of 2015! Their outstanding capstone posters were proudly displayed at our Annual Graduate Public Health Forum and Reception. The Grace Budrys’ Award for Excellence in Community Health was awarded to Kerianne Burke, “Supporting Student Survivors of Sexual Violence: Creating Best Practices for Chicago Public Schools and School Based Health Centers.”

This year’s Health Disparities and Social Justice Conference was held in February.  The eighth annual event attracted record high participation and it included the Public Health Champion award presentation by the Illinois Department of Public Health. ,  DePaul President, Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, CM, provided introduction to Dr. David Ansell of Rush University, who provided the keynote address:   “I Can’t Breathe: Racism and the State of Public Health in Chicago.”

The Public Health Bootcamp was held in July and was sponsored by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago in partnership with the DePaul MPH Program.  This intensive, five-day training included 12 participants.  The week focused on fostering future HIV/AIDS public health leaders through education anchored around core public health concepts and current trends in HIV/AIDS.  

I am extremely pleased to announce the official launch of the Center for Community Health Equity (CCHE), a joint center between DePaul and Rush University. Under the leadership of Dr. Fernando De Maio and his co-director, Dr. Raj Shah from Rush University, the center will offer new opportunities around research, teaching, and professional practice with the goal of reducing health disparities and promoting health equity in Chicago. Along with the joint center, the MPH program will offer a Certificate in Public Health at Rush University this fall. These initiatives represent the start of a new collaboration with Rush around public health and community engagement. 

In preparation for the new academic year, the MPH program held its annual program retreat in June at the George Williams College in Lake Geneva. Out of these discussions emerged an improved capstone structure and process, two new graduate assistantship positions for MPH students with an interest in research, and plans for participation in the upcoming American Pubic Health Association Conference,  “Health in All Policies,” held at McCormick Place in Chicago this November.  We look forward to seeing many of you at the conference and corresponding events.

In closing, these accomplishments would not be possible without the support and contributions of the MPH Administrative team, MPH Program Committee, the Public Health Student Organization, alumni, current students, and our community partners. Thank you everyone and I look forward to another amazing year in MPH. 

John Mazzeo
Director, Master of Public Health (MPH) Program