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New Center for Public Health Initiatives
February 20, 2007, Volume 53, No. 23

Marjorie Bowman

The University of Pennsylvania has formed a Center for Public Health Initiatives to expand and link public health activities across the campus. 

 “In the United States and around the world, we have perceived an urgent need for thoughtful, well-trained public health professionals,” Provost Ron Daniels said. “Penn’s sizeable strengths in genomics, informatics, community-based research, communication, global health, policy and law will help shape the activities of this important new center.”

Dr. Marjorie Bowman, professor and founding chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, will lead the Center with the support of a Steering Committee drawn from the schools, centers and institutes most involved in public health activities at the University. 

“I am delighted that the University is making a substantive commitment to focus Penn’s wide-reaching efforts in public health,” Dr. Arthur Rubenstein, dean of the School of Medicine, said.  “Under Dr. Bowman’s leadership, in consultation with the Steering Committee and with guidance from Provost Daniels, the Center for Public Health Initiatives is poised to significantly enhance the University’s accomplishments in this most important area of scholarship and public service.”

Penn’s burgeoning master’s program in public health (MPH) will serve as an underpinning to the new Center. The degree was initiated in 2002 under the direction of Dr. Shiriki Kumanyika, an expert on obesity and health disparities. Penn’s MPH program, one of the few of its kind in the U.S., emphasizes interdisciplinary education in public health for professionals and engages faculty from the schools of Medicine, Nursing, Arts and Sciences, Social Policy and Practice, Veterinary Medicine, Dental Medicine, the Graduate School of Education and the Wharton School.

“The United States and other affluent societies face rising rates of chronic diseases, many fueled by the obesity epidemic, ongoing racial and ethnic disparities, poverty and disparate access to health care in the face of plenty,” said Dr. Bowman.  “Overall, the world’s population continues to be challenged by health plagues, malnourishment and violence.  Through the Center for Public Health Initiatives, Penn can provide innovation and leadership to meet these large public health challenges.”

Almanac - February 20, 2007, Volume 53, No. 23