June 23, 1999


FORT WORTH, Texas -- A new School of Public Health was approved by the Texas Legislature for Fort Worth’s University of North Texas Health Science Center.

During the 76th legislative session, the state Appropriations Conference Committee adopted a resolution funding the health science center’s School of Public Health for fiscal years 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. It was signed June 19 by Gov. George W. Bush.

Senator Mike Moncrief said legislators saw a need to improve the health and well-being of residents of North Texas and establish a school to educate them.

"Approval of the UNT Health Science Center’s School of Public Health was a priority to legislators in order to train highly qualified individuals in the areas of public health practice and research," said Sen. Moncrief. "With an aging population, increasing health care costs, environmental threats, and infectious diseases on the rise, the creation of a School of Public Health will help shape public health education and prevention."

This fall, the UNT Health Science Center will continue offering its master of public health (MPH) degree through the new School of Public Health. A doctorate of public health (DrPH) will be offered in the fall 2000, and a doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree in epidemiology is also planned.

According to Fernando M. Treviño, PhD, MPH, acting dean of the School of Public Health, the health science center will hire at least 16 new faculty members in the next two years, including PhDs and physicians to teach public health courses in behavioral sciences, community health, environmental health, epidemiology, health services research, public health practice, and biostatistics.

"Our school will be built on a practice-based curriculum, in which none of our students will graduate without having served in a clinic, hospital or community health agency in order to acquire public health field experience," said Dr. Treviño. He is the former executive director of the American Public Health Association and past president of the World Federation of Public Health Associations.

The School of Public Health will continue to award dual degrees with Texas A&M Baylor College of Dentistry, University of North Texas in Denton and the UNT Health Science Center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. These were established with the center’s current public health program. Other collaborative programs are planned with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and the University of Texas at Tyler.

According to Dr. David M. Richards, president of the UNT Health Science Center, the school’s creation would not have happened without local support.

"The Tarrant County delegation, local businesses and the community created the vision to create such a place where the wellness of a population is addressed," said Dr. Richards. "We appreciate their support throughout this process and their confidence in the health science center to bring this vision to fulfillment."

Student projections for the School of Public Health total 167 masters students in the fall of 1999 and 10 doctoral students when the program begins in the fall of 2000. The total is expected to increase to 270 and 30 respectively by the fall of 2002.