University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee now has first accredited public health school in Wisconsin

By McKenna Oxenden
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
July 6, 2017

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee announced Thursday it received accreditation for its public health program, making it the first in the state.

The Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health attained national accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health. Schools that win accreditation must pass a series of tests by peer institution judges who determine if 20-plus criteria have been met with curriculum, research, community engagement and retention rates.

Ronald Perez, interim dean of the Zilber School, said, “We can now be even more effective in pursuing our mission of advancing population health, health equity, and social and environmental justice throughout Milwaukee, the state of Wisconsin, and beyond.”

UW-Madison, the Medical College of Wisconsin and UW-La Crosse have nationally accredited public health graduate programs, but not dedicated schools.

UWM joins 56 other accredited universities across the nation. By becoming accredited, the school will have opportunities to receive federal grants and student fellowships through national organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additionally, students will be able to take a test through the National Board of Public Health Examiners that would give them credentials within the field.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has long argued for the need to address urban health disparities.

In response, philanthropist Joseph Zilber gave $10 million to establish the school and donated a building at the former Pabst Brewery, near Aurora Sinai Medical Center and neighborhoods grappling with chronic health issues.

For the school’s first academic year as an accredited program beginning in September, 27 faculty and 87 students will participate in the program.

“We are delighted with this significant accomplishment which makes UWM’s Zilber School the only accredited school of public health in Wisconsin,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “Earning this accreditation validates the critically important work of our faculty and staff to improve the health of citizens in our region and nationally.”