Bloomberg School of Public Health
Members Present: Drs. John Breitner, John Groopman, Bernard Guyer, Robert Lawrence, Roger McMacken, Wayne Mitzner, Noel Rose, Jonathan Samet, Alfred Sommer, Donald Steinwachs, James Yager, and Scott Zeger; and Ms Robin Fox, staff.
Members Absent: Drs. William Brody, Robert Black, Margaret Ensminger, Diane Griffin, and Edward Miller.
Guests: Drs. Miriam Alexander, Eric Bass, Ron Brookmeyer, Andrea Gielen, Sukon Kanchanaraksa, Sharon Krag, Edyth Schoenrich, Brian Schwartz, Donna Strobino; and Ms Diane Glover.
Meeting Convened: Dean Alfred Sommer convened the meeting at 3 p.m.
Approval of the Minutes: Minutes of the 845th meeting on March 20, 2001 were approved with one correction.
Remarks by the Dean
Dr. Sommer commented on the many exciting events happening at the School. The University's Board of Trustees, senior leadership, and Public Health faculty will celebrate naming of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at a dinner on May 6. Formal planning for the name change is now being undertaken. The name change on publications, stationary, the website and other materials will occur gradually. Dr. Sommer noted the supportive reaction from the faculty.
Dr. Sommer announced that Provost Knapp is to announce that Dr. Claude Earl Fox has been named director of the JHU Urban Health Institute. Dr. Fox is a public health practitioner and former director of the Health Resources and Services Administration. He brings much seniority and experience to the position. He will most likely hold a primary academic appointment in the School and will be invited to a future Advisory Board meeting.
Report of the Faculty Senate
Dr. Mitzner reported that the Faculty General Assembly will meet on May 1 to discuss TAM, a faculty teaching portfolio, a survey on the quality of life among faculty, and the Senate role in the Strategic Plan. He noted that the Senate bylaws might be confusing to faculty not certain of the roles of the Faculty Senate and the Faculty General Assembly.
Dr. Sommer suggested that the Senate review information on trends in faculty recruitment and departures that has been assembled by Ms Fox, showing continued increase in the size of the tenure-track faculty.
Report on searches for Quantitative and Molecular Sciences for Research on Populations and Behavioral Sciences
Dr. McMacken reported that the candidate offered a position in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology declined the offer. The Department has elected to renew the search later in 2001. The Department of Mental Hygiene is conducting faculty interviews. The Department of Biostatistics has successfully recruited 2 new assistant professors. The Department of Epidemiology has successfully recruited a genetic epidemiologist specializing in cancer. The Department of Population and Family Health Sciences has recruited 2 senior faculty members, one to direct the Gates Population Institute and one to head the Center for Communication Programs, and one junior faculty member.
Dr. Sommer announced that Golden Apple awards will be given by the Student Assembly to three faculty at Convocation: Drs. Marie Diener-West and Lynda Burton; and Mr. John McGready. Dr. Moyses Szklo will be awarded the Stebbins medal.
Report of the Committee to Review the MPH Program
Members of the Committee to Review the MPH Program (Drs. Brookmeyer, chair, Bass, Gielen, Schwartz, and Strobino) joined the Advisory Board, along with Dr. Alexander, MPH Program director, Dr. Kanchanaraksa, director of Distance Education and Deputy Director, MPH Program, and Dr. Schoenrich, director of Part-time Education and Deputy Director, MPH Program. Dr. Sommer thanked Dr. Brookmeyer and the Review Committee for their careful review of the MPH Program and noted that the interdepartmental MPH Program is critical to the success of the School.
Dr. Brookmeyer introduced the members of the committee who were present, including Dr. Yager, and noted that Drs. Robert Black, Leon Gordis, and Joseph Margolick could not be present. On behalf of the Committee, he thanked Ms. Amanda Cline for her superb service as committee staff. He then thanked Drs. Alexander, Lawrence, Schoenrich and Kanchanaraksa for their insights into the MPH Program. The Committee, which was charged in August 2000, held meetings, conducted individual interviews, held an open student forum, sent out a survey to recent MPH alumni, and solicited input from MPH mentors and advisors.
Dr. Brookmeyer reported that the MPH Program is widely perceived as the pre-eminent MPH program in the world, and that the Program staff is devoted to the Program. The Review Committee reaffirmed the central mission of the MPH Program, and its centrality to the mission of the School. Dr. Brookmeyer noted that 82% of 1999 MPH graduates reported being "somewhat" or "very" satisfied, indicating a general level of satisfaction with the Program. As only 35% of graduates reported being "very" satisfied, the Committee has outlined areas where there seems to be room for improvement. The Review Committee has provided a blueprint to improve the Program, however Dr. Brookmeyer acknowledged that not all the details of each recommendation have been worked out.
The IE was developed as a culminating experience that would also serve to meet some CEPH requirements, and has accumulated several years of experience. Dr. Brookmeyer remarked that while the IE is well organized, it is not viewed positively by the majority of students, or by some faculty, because too much structure is required without significant faculty oversight and mentorship. The Review Committee proposes that the IE be reconfigured into 2 options. Option 1 is a course-based IE. Option 2 is similar to what is currently in place with approval and oversight placed in the hands of the faculty.
Review Committee recommendations to improve and better coordinate the MPH curriculum include revision of several of the required core courses, decrease in course overlap, and consideration of how the summer term can be made more academically challenging. The Review Committee proposed that each department offering core MPH courses closely examine them, and that the MPH Program should be proactive by bringing perceived problems in this area to the department chairs and faculty.
The Review Committee undertook a close examination of the Program structure, specifically addressing the issue of a School-wide vs. department-based program. There is no other MPH Program that is structured similar to the Hopkins program. The Committee felt there were advantages and disadvantages of the School-wide program but in balance felt that the School-wide nature of the program should be preserved. Instead, the Committee proposed that a limited number of optional areas of concentration be developed for MPH students that would be additive to present School-wide core requirements. Concentration areas would specify the type of IE, and a faculty coordinator would be appointed to direct the advising of students in that concentration area. Students would not be required to choose an area of concentration and could remain as "generalists", and would also have appropriate faculty advising. The Review Committee felt that faculty recognition, incentives, empowerment and ownership of the advising/oversight responsibility would be key to its success. A limited number of areas of concentration could also be used in MPH program marketing.
Dr. Brookmeyer reported that presently there is an MPH Admissions Committee and an MPH Academic Subcommittee. The Review Committee believes that increased communication between the 2 committees would be beneficial for program planning purposes. The Review Committee reaffirmed the admissions requirement of 2 years of health-related experience. Increased communication and merging of offices and responsibilities among the full-time, part-time and iMPH program staff must also be accomplished to provide a seamless Program for students. MPH students reported mixed experiences with the Office of Student Career Services, in particular the perception that the Office is not proactive enough.
The Review Committee observed that the present committee structure governing the MPH Program is not as effective as it could be. While more faculty involvement in and oversight of the MPH Program is called for, it is equally important to increase the level of authority and effort of the MPH Program director. The Review Committee proposes that an MPH Executive Board be created that will consist of one senior faculty member from each department. The faculty member will act as the faculty coordinator and advisor on behalf of their department. The Executive Board, in partnership with the MPH Program director, would make the important policy decisions in the areas of program governance, admissions and academics. This responsibility would represent a significant effort on the part of the senior faculty, who would be expected to take ownership of the MPH Program. Dr. Brookmeyer recommended that a proportion of their salaries be identified specifically to support the MPH Program, and suggested that 15-20% seemed reasonable.
The new iMPH program presents exciting possibilities, but it, along with the part-time MPH Program and various institutes and other special courses, must be better coordinated and integrated to benefit all MPH students. In addition, the Review Committee feels that MPH program should engage in continuous self-evaluation, maintain ongoing dialog with the departments, and use exit and alumni survey results to improve the Program. Dr. Brookmeyer concluded his presentation by noting the pre-eminence and importance of the MPH Program to the School. Dr. Sommer then thanked Dr. Brookmeyer and the Committee for their thoughtful and thorough report.
Dr. Alexander thanked the Review Committee for their helpful suggestions and for calling for more and better faculty relationships with the MPH Program. Dr. Alexander commented that the MPH Program seemed to become more centralized over time due to lack of involvement by faculty, therefore creation of a more explicit incentive system to increase faculty involvement is welcome. Dr. Lawrence welcomed more faculty commitment to and confidence in the MPH Program by the chairs.
The Advisory Board discussed several recommendations of the Report, including organization of an incentive system for faculty, development of concentration areas, and assuring that the Program provides adequate program structure for students who need it and flexibility for students who do not require it. The advantages and disadvantages of the MPH degree compared to the MHS degree were reviewed, and Dr. Sommer noted that the Report recommends against merging the two degree programs. The Review Committee felt the distinction between the two degrees is clear based on program goals and curriculum at least as much as admission requirements, although it is possible that some of the present MHS programs, with modification, could become MPH areas of concentration.
Dr. Lawrence then reviewed the process used to identify iMPH courses, noting that it can appear irregular because some departments have had competing priorities preventing them from completing course development. The advising system for students in a "generalist" MPH program compared to that for students who enter a concentration area will need to be carefully thought out.
After further discussion, Dr. Sommer and the Advisory Board acknowledged the MPH Program Review Committee for their complete and far-ranging report. The Advisory Board then made a formal motion to thank the Committee, which was approved unanimously. By way of implementation, Dr. Lawrence asked that the department chairs discuss the proposed faculty executive committee and incentive system. He and Drs. Alexander, Schoenrich and Kanchanaraksa will begin to address issues of improved coordination of the full-time, part-time and iMPH program, as well as staffing and other internal issues. Dr. Sommer asked the Advisory Board to consider whether the MPH Office should provide salary support directly to members of an MPH Executive Committee. In addition, the role of the School-wide Committee on Academic Standards will be central in overseeing the organization and strengthening of the School's educational enterprise. Several members of the Advisory Board noted that mechanisms must be in place to follow up on the specific recommendations contained in the Report. Dr. Sommer ended the discussion by asking that July 2002 be targeted for implementation of the changes called for in the MPH Review Report.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 5:40 p.m.
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