In June 2016, The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) Board of Councilors accredited the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. The school received a ‘met’ finding, the highest possible, on all criteria evaluated and the school’s initial school-level accreditation is for a five-year term, extending through July 1, 2021.
The School began the rigorous process to transition from its Master of Public Health (MPH) program-level only accreditation to its new full school-level accreditation in 2013. This recent CEPH Council decision is the culmination of that three-year process that involved the efforts of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community partners.
Brief History of our Accreditation
Georgia State University’s Master of Public Health (MPH) degree has been accredited as a program by CEPH since 2007—making us the first public university in Atlanta, Georgia to gain that distinction. In June 2013, GSU’s application to seek a change from accredited program in public health to accredited school of public health was accepted by CEPH, and the school then completed the three-year process necessary to gain accreditation as a School of Public Health.
Over the course of the past decade, public health at Georgia State has grown dramatically—from a graduate certificate program with a handful of enrolled students in 2002, to a full complement of programs, including not only a graduate certificate, but also an MPH degree in five distinct public health areas of knowledge, and a Ph.D. degree in three distinct public health areas of knowledge. Our MPH student body has grown from approximately 40 to more than 300 students—making it one of the largest and fastest-growing accredited programs in the Southeast. We have increased our faculty and staff to meet that demand, with a team of just five in 2004 growing to more than 120 employees today, including a total of eight new distinguished faculty who joined us in the last year. Likewise, the pool of Georgia State public health alumni continues to grow, from four certificate graduates in 2003 and six MPH graduates in 2006 to close to 90 graduates in academic year 2014-2015 and our first four Ph.D. graduates in 2014-2015.
Together, we are making history. Ours is one of the most diverse Schools of Public Health in the nation—where nearly half of all students are minorities and 20 percent are from countries outside the U.S. In fact, since 2006, we have been home to 50 Fulbright Scholars. Our faculty is conducting cutting-edge research and our centers are designing—and, perhaps more importantly, implementing—real-world solutions, partnering with community organizations in Atlanta and beyond to develop evidence-based answers to the challenges cities across the globe face in public health.
As the newest independent college within the university, we will also make Georgia State the first public university with a School of Public Health in Atlanta. Our metropolitan location is not only the ideal laboratory in which to test ways to address public health challenges in urban settings and for global populations, but is home to a multitude of leading public health agencies and organizations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society and CARE International.
Why is CEPH Accreditation Important to the School of Public Health?
CEPH accreditation sets a standard by which all accredited schools of public health work to enhance health in human populations, through organized community effort. Accreditation assures the public that the school has met the most up-to-date standards established by the public health profession in the areas the school’s instruction, research, service, governance, and administration. It gives the school’s students and researchers eligibility for a greater number of funding and fellowship opportunities. Accreditation also assures students and their future employers that the school’s curriculum equips our graduates with the essential skills and knowledge needed for today’s 21st century public health jobs.