“Public health is unique; there is the practice world and then there is the research world,” said Dr. Ellen Daley, professor in the Department of Community and Family Health. “We want to put those worlds closer together.”
Daley was appointed as associate dean of translational research and practice at the USF College of Public Healthin July. She is associate director for women’s health in the Lawton and Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies and also serves as chair of the COPH’s Research Committee. She specializes in women and adolescent health, sexual education, STD prevention and contraceptive use.
In her role, Daley will focus on getting students better acquainted with both sides of public health—research and practice.
She said she wants students to walk away from their respective programs feeling equipped with the skills and ability to do their future jobs well.
“What we really need to do is have this synergy between the two where practice informs what research we do, and the research that we do informs practice in the same way,” she said.
Daley said the first cohort of students being exposed to this type of training are doctoral students from across all departments.
The students have started meeting for a weekly seminar to discuss the public health threat of the Zika virus with a goal of gaining cross disciplinary training on ways to address it.
“Even though someone may be getting their doctorate in epidemiology or in the community and family health focus area, they will understand the big picture of what public health does,” she said. “The idea of the cohort is to gain some understanding and greater respect for what other areas do to see the range of what public health does.”
Public health professionals will address the students at the seminar, exposing them to the ways they are focusing on Zika, and students will work on group projects to address an issue from all disciplines.
Daley said she plans to follow the cohorts for the entirely of their degree, four to five years, and evaluate what additional training may be needed to boost student success and preparedness for working in the field.