New interdisciplinary college will benefit the region and beyond by responding to the commonwealth’s public health and workforce needs.
George Mason University announced today that it is launching the first and only College of Public Health in the Commonwealth of Virginia to meet the critical growing need for skilled, interdisciplinary health professionals and research across the state.
“Mason’s College of Public Health graduates will bring new and diverse talent to Virginia’s health workforce, addressing critical shortages and building a strong talent pipeline for the long-term health of the region,” said Mason President Gregory Washington. “Individuals, families, and communities will benefit from discoveries, clinical care, and public health practice initiatives generated by this multidisciplinary and multisector college.”
The College of Public Health brings an inclusive approach to public health education, research, and practice. More than 60% of the College of Public Health student body is from historically underrepresented groups, and 38% of its undergraduates are first-generation college students.
“As the first and only College of Public Health in Virginia, this launch reflects our academic and research mission and the pivotal leadership role we play in population health and well-being,” said College of Public Health Dean Melissa J. Perry. “Our distinctive set of degree offerings, our inclusive approach to research and education, and commitment to experiential learning opportunities prepare students to thrive in multicultural environments.”
The College of Public Health has outlined a number of key initiatives, including community engagement, workforce development, research, and education to meet public health infrastructure, research, and workforce needs.
“I have long supported expanding the public health and social services workforce to increase access to health care and improve the health of Virginians,” said U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. “I commend George Mason University for establishing the commonwealth’s first College of Public Health to help train this critical workforce.… The college’s work on important issues, such as mental health, suicide prevention, opioid misuse, and providing health services to the underserved, is vital to our region’s future health.”
Mason’s proximity to federal health-related agencies, leading health systems, policymaking institutions, nonprofit community service organizations and global health consulting management firms makes it an ideal location for researching, teaching, influencing, and improving public health and well-being.
“George Mason University plays a critical role in strengthening Northern Virginia’s health care workforce and has long been a trusted partner in our efforts to improve access to affordable health care here in Fairfax and Prince William counties,” said U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, (D-Va.). “The newly established College of Public Health at George Mason is another step toward cementing Northern Virginia as a world-class center of excellence in health care, and I look forward to working with them to reduce disparities in health care training and delivery and to improve the health and quality of life of all Northern Virginians.”
“I am so excited to hear that George Mason University will be opening the first College of Public Health in our region,” said Karen Berube, chief, community health and health equity, and senior vice president of Inova Health System. “Inova and Mason are long-standing partners, and we often hire Mason students and graduates who have knowledge of and experience with under-resourced communities. As we strive to improve the health of the communities we are so privileged to serve, it is vital that we have the necessary diverse workforce to make this vision a reality. I look forward to our partnership with the new College of Public Health.”
The announcement to rename the former College of Health and Human Services comes after formal approval by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).
With Mason’s new College of Public Health, Virginia is now the 36th state in the country to have a College of Public Health and will benefit from increased community engagement, workforce development initiatives, and research of consequence with a focus on eliminating health disparities.
To support the new College of Public Health’s students, faculty, and initiatives, a College of Public Health Dean’s Fund has been created. Learn more at gmu.edu and publichealth.gmu.edu.
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