One of the primary mantras of public health is that there’s always something to do. Stop for too long and everything shifts: societies change, new conditions arise, complexities grow. So, public health practitioners take advantage of the strategic pause – to evaluate, to reframe, to look back and look forward.
Sometimes, that pause is to celebrate. Ten years ago, the Colorado School of Public Health opened its doors on three university campuses (CU Anschutz, CSU and UNC), and ColoradoSPH at CSU began its fledgling journey with four students and a mission to “promote the physical, mental, social and environmental health of people and communities in the Rocky Mountain region and globally.”
At a recent 10th anniversary celebration, faculty, administrators, staff, community partners, current students and alumni – including Shauna DeLuca and Sarah Drobek, who were in the first cohort of ColoradoSPH at CSU students – gathered to look back at a decade of “training public health professionals and conducting public health research in order to create environments that promote health,” the school’s purpose, and to look forward. ColoradoSPH now has a total of 1,700 graduates, and more than 200 master of public health students graduated from the school’s programs at CSU. Of those graduates, 97 percent are employed or seeking further education within 12 months of graduating.
“We’re the state’s school of public health and the region’s school of public health,” said ColoradoSPH Dean Jonathan Samet. “I’d like to see us up our impact in the state and in the region through partnering, through reaching out. We do research, and I’d like to see us find the best ways to make sure our research has impact.”
Dr. Lorann Stallones, director of the ColoradoSPH at CSU, emphasized the innovation and collaboration that have become a hallmark of the Colorado School of Public Health, with its three-campus system that shares resources and offers expanded educational and research opportunities for students.
Richard Hamman, ColoradoSPH founding dean, said that establishing a school of public health in Colorado was first discussed in the 1980s as a recommendation from the Blue Ribbon Commission, but work began in earnest in 2000. With a lot of hard work done by representatives from the three ColoradoSPH universities, as well as partnership and support from public health organizations and foundations, the Colorado School of Public Health began educating students in 2008.
Looking forward to the next 10 years, and the 10 after that, Samet observed, “We live and work in a very interesting world, don’t we? We’re doing all we can and adapting to whatever the climate is. There’s always a leading cause of death, there’s always a leading cause of disability, there’s always something to do. We will continue to generate the best evidence we can, and now we have better tools for communication. We have great opportunities that are coming over the next 10 years and beyond.”