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School of Public Health celebrates 25 years of transforming public health

The nation’s fifth-largest school of public health launches a year of events in Texas, Georgia and Washington, D.C.
adults wearing graduation regalia holding their thumbs up

Since opening its doors in 1998 to an inaugural class of two dozen students, to today training the fifth-largest student body of future public health professionals in the nation, the Texas A&M University School of Public Health’s impact on the health of Texans and the nation is immense.

For the past 25 years, the school’s faculty, staff and students have worked to transform public health through interdisciplinary inquiry, innovative solutions and the development of leaders through the Aggie tradition of service to engage diverse communities worldwide. Creating new knowledge and translating research to practice, policy and service have led to research expenditures exceeding $130 million since the school’s founding, with funding from federal, state, local, nonprofit and private sources. Researchers at the school are national leaders in rural health policy, epidemiology, community health and aging, health care access and equity, emergency preparedness and response, health economics, program evaluation, occupational and environmental health and behavior health.

The school was originally named the Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health until 2014, when the faculty voted to remove “rural” to better reflect the school’s growing mission. The following year, the school began offering its first undergraduate degree, the Bachelor of Science in Public Health. Accredited by both the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) and the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME), the school is currently home to 91 faculty and 2,842 students.

“I couldn’t be prouder of what the students, faculty and staff have accomplished during the school’s first 25 years, and I know what we will accomplish in the next 25 years will be even more astounding,” said Shawn Gibbs, PhD, MBA, CIH, dean of the School of Public Health.

The school’s year of celebrations began Sept. 22 with a 25th Anniversary Kick-off Block Party with food trucks, a DJ, swag and lawn games. Students, faculty and staff celebrated the accomplishments for the school and discussed what the future might hold. On Oct. 27, the SPH Day of Exploration was held, where potential partners rotated through 12-minute sessions featuring researchers who are national and international experts in their fields, followed by dinner. On Oct. 28, the school hosted its annual tailgate in the shadow of Kyle Field in Aggie Park, where former students networked with current students in sharing the exploits of their careers and recruiting Aggies.

This month’s events include the school co-sponsoring a watch party with the Atlanta A&M Club during the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on Nov. 11. The school will also host an Alumni and PHriends Reception at APHA on Nov. 14 from 6:30-9:00 p.m. at the Georgia World Congress Center. More than 30 faculty and students will lead more than 40 presentations at the world’s premier public health conference.

A reception will be held during the Association of Public Health and Schools and Programs Annual Meeting March 21-22 in Washington, D.C. This will be an opportunity for partners, former students and faculty to exchange ideas and opportunities. The year of celebration will culminate with the 25th Anniversary Gala April 27, 2024, in College Station, Texas, that will honor the achievements of current and former students.

“Our 25th Anniversary celebration is an opportunity for us to let the Aggie community and the country know the great things that we have done, are doing and will do,” said Gibbs. “It is an opportunity to build collaborations and to let others know what they can do to support our great research, students and faculty.”

To learn more about the school’s history and 25th Anniversary events, visit the 25th Anniversary website.

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