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2015 Year in Review


Friday Letter Highlights

2015 Annual Meeting

The 2015 ASPPH Annual Meeting took place March 22-25, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA. The theme of the meeting was Framing the Future: A New Paradigm for Academic Public Health. The meeting included plenary sessions with Ms. Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and co-anchor and managing editor for PBS Newshour and Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States spoke at the ASPPH Leadership Meeting. Attendees engaged with thought leaders, reflected on the exciting new future for academic public health, and gained skills to implement change locally and globally. Read more.

The 2016 ASPPH Annual Meeting will take place on March 20-22 in Arlington, VA. Registration is now open.

Student Recruitment

ASPPH expanded student recruitment activities this year by launching MySOPHAS which allows applicants to receive customized information based on their interests and preferences. MySOPHAS is built on a CRM (Customer-Relationship Manager) offered by Liaison/Spectrum, our SOPHAS partner. The goal for 2016 is to enable MySOPHAS to seamlessly work with SOPHAS so that we can see the ultimate impact of our recruiting efforts which will allow ASPPH to make better decisions about our future recruiting activities.


SOPHAS, ASPPH’s centralized application service, has continued its remarkable growth. Eleven additional members joined SOPHAS this year, which brings the number of participating institutions to 91. SOPHAS continues to evolve in response to the needs of participating schools and programs – all members are welcome to participate in bi-monthly planning calls and semi-annual strategic planning meetings. Members interested in learning more about SOPHAS should contact Mr. Guy Piotrowski, ASPPH manager of centralized application services at


Undergraduate Public Health and Global Health Education

ASPPH launched a network for leaders representing undergraduate institutions offering a baccaleaurate degree in public health and/or global health.  This followed several initiatives that we have been engaged in related to undergraduate education including the establishment of critical component elements as one aspect of our work on Framing the Future for Education. Judging from the response to the first meeting of the ASPPH Undergraduate Network for Public Health and Global Health Education, held on Monday, November 2, the decision to launch a network was timely and responsive to a great demand.

We invited 200 institutions to participate in the Network; with 122 joining immediately.  We are building the Network to respond to their needs.

ASPPH also continues to sponsor a summit for representatives of undergraduate institutions. The next summit, offered in partnership with AAC&U, is planned for March 20, 2016 in conjunction with our annual meeting. The keynote speaker will be Dr Thomas Farley, CEO, The Public Good Projects and former commissioner of Health for New York City.


Population Health

ASPPH devoted most of its leadership retreat this summer to population health.

Following the retreat discussions, an ASPPH Population Health Leadership Group was formed to lead the Association’s efforts going forward. Drs. John Finnegan (Minnesota) and Robert Dittus (Vanderbilt) are co-chairing the group. The Group has agreed to the following activities over the next year:

Several population health-related sessions are planned for the 2016 ASPPH Annual Meeting. A session on population health and primary care will highlight The Practical Playbook. Another session will focus on population health analytics. The leadership session at the Annual Meeting will focus on the leadership role of academic public health in population health.


Following the Research Committee’s July retreat, five strategic domains were identified:

Based on the Committee’s discussions, two annual meeting sessions were proposed and have been accepted. As mentioned above, one session will focus on the developing field of population health analytics. A second session will focus on research priority setting, both on how our institutions and funders make public health research investments and how that should evolve as funders and performers seek to maximize value and impact.

Preparing the Public Health Workforce with Graduate Training Programs

ASPPH continues to work with federal partners to provide mentored training experiences for our member’s public health graduate students and alumni, which will help prepare them for careers in governmental public health practice. This year, we offered four different opportunities: ASPPH/NHTSA Public Health Fellowships, ASPPH/EPA Environmental Health Fellowships, ASPPH/CDC Allan Rosenfield Global Health Fellowships, and ASPPH/CDC Public Health Fellowships. During the 2015 application cycle, 380 students and recent graduates from members applied for these highly-competitive programs. ASPPH placed 70 newly selected trainees in top public health organizations around the world. Their assignments included the headquarters of three federal agencies (CDC, EPA, and NHTSA) and 16 countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Haiti, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe). There are currently a total of 114 ASPPH graduates who are actively engaged in practice-based training assignments with ASPPH partner agencies and organizations. In these assignments, the fellows help deliver quality public health services to improve population health. ASPPH continues to foster connections and provide opportunities with these fellows, even after their time in the graduate training program ends, through the ASPPH GTP Alumni networking group on LinkedIn. We look forward to continued efforts to foster the development of early-career public health professionals in the coming years.

Public Health Practice

ASPPH is actively engaged with national partners such as ASTHO, NACCHO, APHA, PHAB, CSTE, the deBeaumont Foundation and many other partners representing the public health workforce. In November, ASPPH convened a number of sessions focusing on academic public health practice at the 2015 APHA Annual Meeting.  This work is part of our efforts as the sponsor of the APHA Academic Public Health Caucus.  We are grateful to Dean Paul Halverson (IUPUI) for chairing the caucus.

In addition, practice remains a priority of the leadership of schools and programs of public health as reflected by the active engagement of members of the ASPPH Public Health Practice Committee, led by Dean Lynn Goldman (GW), and also the ASPPH Public Health Practice Section, led by Jennifer Kolker (Drexel), representing the associate deans and designated leads for public health practice at member institutions.

This past year, ASPPH staff completed a study, supported through our cooperative agreement with the CDC, examining student practicum placements at governmental public health agencies, specifically looking at where students are placed, contributions of students, and facilitating factors and barriers to student placement at governmental public health agencies. The results of this project have been presented at several national conferences and a paper has been submitted for publication.


Several hundred ASPPH members participated in phone conferences, in-person meetings, virtual focus groups, open listening webinars, Online Community exchanges, and email discussions on CEPH’s draft accreditation criteria in Round 1 (March through September 2015) and Round 2 (November 2015 to date).  Many members stepped up to facilitate these conversations and enable the free flow of opinions, concerns, and thoughtful ideas for consideration by the ASPPH board. View a list of the groups formally engaged in the process.


National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) board of directors announced a new eligibility criteria for the Certified in Public Health (CPH) exam. Individuals who have a bachelor’s degree and at least five subsequent years’ public health work experience will be eligible to take the CPH exam. Registration opened December 15. For those interested in sitting for the CPH under the new requirements, more information can be found on the NBPHE website at

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