Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Guest Commentary: Celebrating JSPH's First Academic Year

Caroline Golab, PhD
Associate Dean, Academic and Student Affairs
Jefferson School of Population Health

When 12 special Thomas Jefferson University graduates walked across the Kimmel Center stage this past May 24, it not only marked the first graduating class of the Jefferson School of Population Health, but also served as the final act of a highly successful first academic year for the School.

JSPH’s first year began on the numerologically portentous date of 09/09/09, when 110 students began classes in public health, healthcare quality and safety, and health policy. By year’s end, the School had added two new degree programs, a Master of Science in Chronic Care Management (MS-CCM) and a PhD in Population Health Sciences. Both new additions are currently accepting applications for the Fall 2010 term.

Throughout 2009-2010, JSPH distinguished itself not only for its innovative academic programs, but also for the method in which they will be delivered. Three of the master’s programs – Health Policy, Healthcare Quality and Safety, and Chronic Care Management – will be offered online beginning in September 2010. We hired Juan Leon, PhD, to be the director of online learning and training; preparation for the faculty and staff began shortly thereafter. By no coincidence, JSPH hosted its first Online Open House on June 16. All is on schedule to launch the online programs this September.

Another highlight took place on May 20, when JSPH hosted its inaugural Class Night. Family and friends of graduating students spent a lovely evening on the 4th floor terrace of the Hamilton Building. Megan Morris was presented the Student Achievement Award, and a few days later received her Master of Public Health Degree as a member of the first graduating class of the Jefferson School of Population Health.

As a backdrop to our inaugural academic year, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law, a significant development establishing new challenges for the new generation of leaders being developed by the Jefferson School of Population Health.