October 14, 2019 – The University of Texas at San Antonio today announced plans to create an innovative new college dedicated to advancing human health. The College for Health, Community and Policy will focus on a holistic concept of health and transform how the university prepares students for modern, people-centered health care environments in which medical scientists, nurses, therapists, technicians, social workers, researchers, psychologists, non-profit organizations and policy makers work together to improve the health, well-being and well-being of our communities at all levels.
The new college will be officially launched in January 2020 and will welcome students from fall 2020.
“Complex health issues require holistic and innovative solutions, especially when it comes to health issues that impact communities, such as nutrition and obesity, mental health, food safety and water or drug addiction,” the UTSA president said. Taylor Eighty. “The College for Health, Community and Policy will capitalize on UTSA’s strengths to create bold new opportunities to impact health policy at scale.”
The new college is the result of the Human Health Initiative, launched by UTSA in November 2018. The task force’s charge of the initiative, set by the provost and senior vice president of academic affairs Kimberly Andrews Spy, was to consider student interests, workforce needs, and research opportunities, and then recommend a college organizational structure to facilitate student success and career preparation as well as research opportunities and cross-disciplinary funding.
The task force included representatives from UTSA, UT Health San Antonio and the UT Health Science Center at the Houston School of Public Health, which has a regional campus in San Antonio.
“This was a highly collaborative faculty-led effort, and I am grateful to everyone who participated in this year-long process for their energy and creativity,” Espy said. “UTSA faculty who will be part of the new college are excited to work together and with our partner institutions. More important, however, is how the College for Health, Community, and Politics will benefit UTSA students. Aligning our health-related programs within the new college will help current and prospective students navigate their options for pursuing health-related careers and give them a deeper understanding of the social determinants and other factors that contribute to human health, well-being and well-being. .”
The College of Health, Community and Policy will include all of the academic departments currently in the College of Public Policy – Criminology and Criminal Justice, Demography, Public Administration and Social Work – as well as the Psychology departments; sociology; and health, kinesiology and nutrition. Under the new college, the latter department will be restructured and renamed the Department of Kinesiology, while the combined Bachelor of Nutrition/MDS in Dietetics will be administered directly by the college. Finally, a new department, the Department of Public Health, will be created to house BS degrees in health and public health. The changes were approved by the University of Texas system in August and recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Building on the strong legacy of the College of Public Policy, Espy said, the for on behalf of the College for Health, Community and Politics intentionally reflects the important advocacy role that will continue in the new college model. In total, the college will include over 175 faculty and over 6,800 students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates in these departments.
In addition to better supporting students who may be interested in pursuing health-related careers, the college’s departmental structure aims to create new research opportunities in traditional disciplines, both within UTSA and with external partners.
“UT Health San Antonio and UTSA have a long-standing close partnership that has fostered many research and academic collaborations, such as our joint graduate programs in biomedical engineering and our Ph.D. in translational science,” said Jacqueline L. Mok, Vice President of Academic, Faculty, and Student Affairs at UT Health San Antonio and a member of the Human Health Planning Advisory Task Force. “My colleagues and I are excited to continue this work with UTSA faculty and leaders in support of the new college to maximize our synergies to promote both transdisciplinary research and student success.”
UTSA is conducting a national search for the college’s founding dean and has appointed a search advisory committee made up of representatives from UTSA faculty, staff, and students as well as community partners. Executive search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates assists in the search process.
“We are excited to begin the search process and expect to have a founding dean in place in the spring of 2020,” Espy said. “There is still a lot of transitional work to be done, and to fully realize the promise of the new college, we need an experienced leader who embraces this broad conceptualization of health and who can lead the college in merging a shared identity and vision among faculty, staff, and students for the benefit of the university and the community of San Antonio.
To further engage community stakeholders in college planning, UTSA will be hosting a community charette, tentatively scheduled for November 19. Details will be forthcoming.