OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

college of public health and human sciences

‘Go Baby Go’ mobility program for children with disabilities expands to OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is the newest hub for “Go Baby Go,” a program that provides modified, ride-on cars to young children with disabilities so they can move around independently.

The modified toy cars give children with mobility disabilities a chance to play and socialize with their peers more easily, said Sam Logan, an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences and leader of the Go Baby Go project at OSU.

Past research has shown that independent mobility is linked to cognitive, social, motor, language and other developmental benefits in young children, he said. Being pushed in a stroller or being carried from one place to another is fundamentally different from having active control over one’s own exploration, which is where the developmental gains are seen.

“We want to provide that movement experience as early as possible, so they can reap the benefits,” said Logan, whose research focuses on providing technology and training to children with disabilities to promote social mobility. “Beyond mobility and socialization, we hope that the ride-on cars provide children with disabilities a chance to just be a kid.”

There are no commercially available devices for children with mobility issues to get around on their own; and power wheelchairs usually aren’t an option until the children are older. The modified cars provide them independence at a much younger age and at a relatively low cost. The cars run about $100 and the electric switches and other modifications, including seating support and padding, bring the total cost to about $200.

Go Baby Go was founded by Professor Cole Galloway as part of a research project at the University of Delaware but researchers have also trained volunteers in more than 40 communities to modify the cars so more children have access to them. Logan oversaw the program at University of Delaware before he joined the OSU faculty this year and said he knew he wanted to continue the program by adding a Go Baby Go site in Corvallis.

“The overarching mission of the lab is to help as many families as we can,” he said. “Within a year, we’d like everyone in Oregon to know that these cars are available.”

Logan will be leading a car-building workshop on Nov. 11 to show OSU students how to modify the cars. About 15 students in Logan’s motor behavior classes have volunteered to work on the first cars, and Logan’s long-term goal is to establish a student-led OSU club that would host car-building workshops on a regular basis.

He is also looking for families interested in obtaining a car for their child. Cars will be available at the Nov. 11 event, he said. Cars have been modified for children with spina bifida, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and complex medical needs, such as trachea tubes, he said. While most of the cars are modified to operate with hand movements, they also have been modified for head movement, Logan said.

Families interested in a modified car for their child should email Logan at sam.logan@oregonstate.edu. Parents are encouraged to make a donation to help with car costs if they’re able to, but no donation is required to receive a car, Logan said.

“The donations just allow us to keep providing more cars,” Logan said. “We also ask that families who receive cars either pass them on to another child or return them to us when their child outgrows the car.”

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A child tries a 'Go Baby Go' car

A child tries a car

Sam Logan

Sam Logan

Children with autism focus of Corvallis Science Pub talk

CORVALLIS, Ore. – For school-age children, the rise in autism spectrum disorder and the decrease in physical activity spell trouble. Since children diagnosed with autism tend to be more sedentary and also lag in the development of motor skills, physical activity may be more difficult to learn.

At the Nov. 10 Corvallis Science Pub, Megan MacDonald, an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, will explore the connection between autism and exercise.

“Our nation is in the midst of a physical inactivity epidemic, and children with ASD have not been spared," she said. “The good news is that we can teach these physically active behaviors to help ensure a healthy future.” 

The Science Pub presentation is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. 2nd St. in Corvallis.

MacDonald received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2011. Her research focuses on how motor skills and physically active lifestyles improve the lives of children and youth with and without disabilities. She has a specific interest in the movement skills of children with autism spectrum disorder.

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

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Megan MacDonald, 541-737-3273

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OSU-Cascades one of 15 universities nationwide to receive federal suicide prevention grant

BEND, Ore. – Oregon State University – Cascades will use a new $305,000 suicide prevention grant to develop programs at the branch campus to support student mental health and to identify and respond to students who are at risk for suicide.

The campus was one of 15 universities nationwide to receive a 2014 Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people in the U.S. aged 18 to 25. Depression is a leading risk factor for suicide and a common problem that can interfere with a student’s ability to have a productive college experience.

The grant project will be co-led by Susan Keys, Ph.D., an associate professor and senior researcher in public health and Linda Porzelius, Ph.D., head of personal counseling services, both at the branch campus. 

“This grant could not come at a more propitious time,” Keys said. “The funds will help ensure we have important systems in place for mental health support as we welcome new students beginning in 2015."

The grant will also support the creation of web-based suicide prevention information for students; faculty, staff and student training in suicide prevention; and student projects that encourage fellow students to live healthy lives, seek help when they are experiencing stress and to reduce the stigma associated with asking for or receiving help. An additional focus will strengthen connections between campus services and those available in the community.  Grant collaborators include public, private and non-profit health and mental health providers.

“For some college students, balancing school, work, relationships and family while planning for a career can be overwhelming.  Educating our campus community on how to identify these students and referring them to supportive services could be lifesaving,” said Keys.

Keys joined OSU-Cascades in 2013. She has been a professional advocate for youth mental health for more than 30 years. Her experience has included leading national programs in suicide prevention and youth violence prevention for DHHS and serving as chair of the counseling department at Johns Hopkins University.  She chairs the Deschutes County Suicide Prevention Advisory Council. Keys is also a consultant for the state of Oregon’s youth suicide prevention grant program.

Resources to assist students in need are currently available on campus and within the community.  National online resources include ReachOut.com, a mental health and information service for teens and young adults, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255).

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Christine Coffin, 541-322-3152, Christine.Coffin@osucascades.edu

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Susan Keys, 541-322-2046

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OSU researcher receives NIH award

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An environmental epidemiologist at Oregon State University has been selected for a prestigious award for early career scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Perry Hystad, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU, is one of 17 winners of the NIH’s 2014 Early Independence Award.

Hystad will receive $250,000 each year for up to five years to support a global study on air pollution and health. He is the first researcher at Oregon State to receive an Early Independence Award since they began in 2011. He joined the OSU faculty in 2013, and earned a doctorate in epidemiology from the University of British Columbia.

The awards, announced Monday by the NIH, are highly competitive grants to encourage young scientists who have demonstrated outstanding scientific creativity, intellectual maturity and leadership skills, and who have developed bold and innovative approaches to addressing health problems.

“I am extremely excited to have received the NIH Early Independence Award,” Hystad said. “This is an innovative program that will allow me to study global air pollution and health. The results will have direct implications for global, national and local policy to reduce the burden of cardiopulmonary disease.”

Recent estimates suggest that 3.2 million deaths are caused each year by outdoor air pollution, making it one of the most important modifiable risk factors affecting health, Hystad said. However, there are still a number of substantial uncertainties surrounding air pollution impacts on health and most research has been conducted in developed countries.

Hystad plans to use data from a large-scale epidemiological study to better understand how air pollution impacts cardiovascular and respiratory disease around the world, in a study including 155,000 people in 628 communities and 17 countries.

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Perry Hystad, 541-737-4829, perry.hystad@oregonstate.edu

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Childhood asthma linked to lack of ventilation for gas stoves, OSU study shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Parents with children at home should use ventilation when cooking with a gas stove, researchers from Oregon State University are recommending, after a new study showed an association between gas kitchen stove ventilation and asthma, asthma symptoms and chronic bronchitis.

“In homes where a gas stove was used without venting, the prevalence of asthma and wheezing is higher than in homes where a gas stove was used with ventilation,” said Ellen Smit, an associate professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and one of the study’s authors. “Parents of all children should use ventilation while using a gas stove.”

Researchers can’t say that gas stove use without ventilation causes respiratory issues, but the new study clearly shows an association between having asthma and use of ventilation, Smit said. More study is needed to understand that relationship, including whether emissions from gas stoves could cause or exacerbate asthma in children, the researchers said.

Asthma is a common chronic childhood disease and an estimated 48 percent of American homes have a gas stove that is used. Gas stoves are known to affect indoor air pollution levels and researchers wanted to better understand the links between air pollution from gas stoves, parents’ behavior when operating gas stoves and respiratory issues, said Eric Coker, a doctoral student in public health and a co-author of the study.

The study showed that children who lived in homes where ventilation such as an exhaust fan was used when cooking with gas stoves were 32 percent less likely to have asthma than children who lived in homes where ventilation was not used. Children in homes where ventilation was used while cooking with a gas stove were 38 percent less likely to have bronchitis and 39 percent less likely to have wheezing. The study also showed that lung function, an important biological marker of asthma, was significantly better among girls from homes that used ventilation when operating their gas stove.

Many people in the study also reported using their gas stoves for heating, researchers found. That was also related to poorer respiratory health in children, particularly when ventilation was not used. In homes where the gas kitchen stove was used for heating, children were 44 percent less likely to have asthma and 43 percent less likely to have bronchitis if ventilation was used. The results did not change even when asthma risk factors such as pets or cigarette smoking inside the home were taken into account, Coker said.

“Asthma is one of the most common diseases in children living in the United States,” said Molly Kile, the study’s lead author. Kile is an environmental epidemiologist and assistant professor at OSU. “Reducing exposure to environmental factors that can exacerbate asthma can help improve the quality of life for people with this condition.”

The findings were published recently in the journal “Environmental Health.” Co-authors included John Molitor and Anna Harding of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences and Daniel Sudakin of the College of Agricultural Sciences. The research was supported by OSU.

Researchers used data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics from 1988-1994. Data collected for NHANES is a nationally representative sample of the U.S. population.

The third edition of the survey is the only one in which questions about use of gas stoves were asked, Coker said. Participants were interviewed in their homes and also underwent physical exams and lab tests.

Researchers examined data from about 7,300 children ages 2-16 who has asthma, wheezing or bronchitis and whose parents reported using a gas stove in the home. Of those who reported using no ventilation, 90 percent indicated they did not have an exhaust system or other ventilation in their homes, Coker said.

Even though the study relies on older data, the findings remain relevant because many people still use gas stoves for cooking, and in some cases, for heat in the winter, the researchers said.

“Lots of older homes lack exhaust or other ventilation,” Coker said. “We know this is still a problem. We don’t know if it is as prevalent as it was when the data was collected.”

Researchers suggest that future health surveys include questions about gas stove and ventilation use. That would allow them to see if there have been any changes in ventilation use since the original data was collected.

“More research is definitely needed,” Coker said. “But we know using an effective ventilation system will reduce air pollution levels in a home, so we can definitely recommend that.”

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Eric Coker, 206-235-2859, escoker@gmail.com; or Ellen Smit, 541-737-3833, Ellen.Smit@oregonstate.edu

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 Gas cook stove

Children with autism are more sedentary than their peers, new OSU study shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new Oregon State University study of children with autism found that they are more sedentary than their typically-developing peers, averaging 50 minutes less a day of moderate physical activity and 70 minutes more each day sitting.

The small study of 29 children, some with autism and some without, showed that children with autism perform as well as their typical peers on fitness assessments such as body mass index, aerobic fitness levels and flexibility. The results warrant expanding the study to a larger group of children, said Megan MacDonald, an assistant professor in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

“These kids, compared to their peers, are similarly fit,” MacDonald said. “That’s really exciting, because it means those underlying fitness abilities are there.”

The findings were published this month in the journal “Autism Research and Treatment.” Co-authors are Kiley Tyler, a doctoral student at OSU, and Kristi Menear of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The study was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education with additional support from OSU.

For the study, researchers tested the fitness and physical activity levels of 17 children with autism and 12 children without autism. The fitness assessments, conducted in the Movement Studies in Disability Lab at OSU, included a 20-meter, multi-stage shuttle run to measure aerobic fitness; a sit-and-reach test to measure flexibility and a strength test to measure handgrip strength; as well as height, weight and body mass index measurements.

The fitness tests were selected in part because they are commonly used in schools, MacDonald said. Children in the study also wore accelerometers for a week to measure their movement, and parents filled out supplemental forms to report other important information.

Even though they were more sedentary, the children with autism lagged behind their peers on only one fitness measure, the strength test. The results were surprising but also encouraging because they show that children with autism are essentially on par with their peers when it comes to physical fitness activities, MacDonald said.

“That’s really important for parents and teachers to understand, because it opens the door for them to participate in so many activities,” she said. 

More research is needed to determine why children with autism tend to be more sedentary, MacDonald said. It may be that children with autism have fewer opportunities to participate in organized sports or physical education activities, but if that is the case, it needs to change, she said.

“They can do it. Those abilities are there,” she said. “We need to work with them to give them opportunities.”

MacDonald encourages parents to make physical activity such as a daily walk or trip to the park part of the family’s routine. She’s also an advocate for adaptive physical education programs, which are school-based programs designed around a child’s abilities and needs. Some communities also offer physical fitness programs such as soccer clubs that are inclusive for children with autism or other disabilities, she said.

“Physical fitness and physical activity are so important for living a healthy life, and we learn those behaviors as children,” MacDonald said. “Anything we can do to help encourage children with autism to be more active is beneficial.”

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Megan MacDonald, 541-737-3273, Megan.MacDonald@oregonstate.edu

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Even small stressors may be harmful to men’s health, new OSU research shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Older men who lead high-stress lives, either from chronic everyday hassles or because of a series of significant life events, are likely to die earlier than the average for their peers, new research from Oregon State University shows.

“We’re looking at long-term patterns of stress – if your stress level is chronically high, it could impact your mortality, or if you have a series of stressful life events, that could affect your mortality,” said Carolyn Aldwin, director of the Center for Healthy Aging Research in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU.

Her study looked at two types of stress: the everyday hassles of such things as commuting, job stress or arguments with family and friends; and significant life events, such as job loss or the death of a spouse.

Both types appear to be harmful to men’s health, but each type of stress appears to have an independent effect on mortality. Someone experiencing several stressful life events does not necessarily have high levels of stress from everyday hassles, Aldwin said. That is determined more by how a person reacts to the stress.

“It’s not the number of hassles that does you in, it’s the perception of them being a big deal that causes problems,” Aldwin said. “Taking things in stride may protect you.”

Aldwin’s latest research on long-term patterns of stress in men was published recently in the journal “Experimental Gerontology.” Co-authors of the study were Yu-Jin Jeong of Chonbuk National University in Korea; Heidi Igarashi and Soyoung Choun of OSU; and Avron Spiro III of Boston University. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The researchers used data from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. They studied stressful life events and everyday hassles for 1,293 men between 1989 and 2005 then followed the men until 2010. About 43 percent of the men had died by the end of the study period.

About a third of the men who reported having few stressful life events had died, while closer to half of the men reporting moderate or high numbers of stressful events had died by the end of the study.

Men who reported few everyday hassles had the lowest mortality rate, at 28.7 percent. Just under half of the men reporting a mid-range number of hassles had died by the end of the study, while 64.3 percent of the men reporting a high number of hassles had died.

Stressful life events are hard to avoid, but men may live longer if they’re able to control their attitudes about everyday hassles, such as long lines at the store or traffic jams on the drive home, Aldwin said.

“Don’t make mountains out of molehills,” she said. “Coping skills are very important.”

The study gives a snapshot of the effects of stress on men’s lives and the findings are not a long-term predictor of health, she said. Stress and other health issues can develop over a long period of time.

Aldwin said future research will look more closely at the different stressors’ effects on health to see if the two types of stress have similar or different impacts on the body’s physiology. Understanding how stress affects health.

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Carolyn Aldwin, 541-737-2024, Carolyn.aldwin@oregonstate.edu

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Greener neighborhoods lead to better birth outcomes, new research shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Mothers who live in neighborhoods with plenty of grass, trees or other green vegetation are more likely to deliver at full term and their babies are born at higher weights, compared to mothers who live in urban areas that aren’t as green, a new study shows.

The findings held up even when results were adjusted for factors such as neighborhood income, exposure to air pollution, noise, and neighborhood walkability, according to researchers at Oregon State University and the University of British Columbia.

“This was a surprise,” said Perry Hystad, an environmental epidemiologist in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State and lead author of the study. “We expected the association between greenness and birth outcomes to disappear once we accounted for other environmental exposures such as air pollution and noise. The research really suggests that greenness affects birth outcomes in other ways, such as psychologically or socially.”

Researchers aren’t sure yet where the link between greenness and birth outcome is. More study is needed to determine if additional green space provides more social opportunities and enhances a person’s sense of belonging in the community, or if it has a psychological effect, reducing stress and depression, Hystad said.

In a study of more than 64,000 births, researchers found that very pre-term births were 20 percent lower and moderate pre-term births were 13 percent lower for infants whose mothers lived in greener neighborhoods.

They also found that fewer infants from greener neighborhoods were considered small for their gestational age. Babies from the greener neighborhoods weighed 45 grams more at birth than infants from less green neighborhoods, Hystad said.

The study establishes an important link between residential “greenness” and birth outcomes that could have significant implications for public health, said Hystad, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health.

“From a medical standpoint, those are small changes in birth weight, but across a large population, those are substantial differences that would have a significant impact on the health of infants in a community,” Hystad said.

Babies born early or underweight often have more health and developmental problems, not just at birth but also as they continue to grow up, and the cost to care for pre-term and underweight infants also can be much higher, Hystad said.

Results of the study were published recently in the journal “Environmental Health Perspectives.” Co-authors were Hugh W. Davies, Lawrence Frank, Josh Van Loon, Lillian Tamburic and Michael Brauer of the University of British Columbia; and Ulrike Gehring of Utrecht University in The Netherlands. The research was supported by a grant from Health Canada.

The study is also part of a growing body of work that indicates green space has a positive influence on health, Hystad said. Researchers examined more than 64,000 births in the Vancouver, British Columbia, area between 1999 and 2002, for individual environmental factors such as exposure to green space that might affect birth outcomes.

Since half the world’s population lives in urban areas, it’s important to understand how different aspects of the built environment – the buildings, parks and other human-made space we live in – might affect health, researchers said.

“We know a lot about the negative influences such as living closer to major roads, but demonstrating that a design choice can have benefits is really uplifting,” said Brauer, the study’s senior author. “With the high cost of healthcare, modifying urban design features such as increasing green space may turn out to be extremely cost-effective strategies to prevent disease, while at the same time also providing ecological benefits.”

It’s unclear how much or what type of green space is of most benefit to developing infants, but researchers do know that adding a planter to the patio or a tree to the sidewalk median probably won’t make a significant difference in birth outcomes.

“Planting one tree likely won’t help,” Hystad said. “You don’t really see the beneficial effects of green space until you reach a certain threshold of greenness in a neighborhood.”

One of the next steps for researchers is to better understand what that threshold is and why it makes a difference.

“We know green space is good. How do we maximize that benefit to improve health outcomes?” Hystad said. “The answer could have significant implications for land use planning and development.”

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Perry Hystad, 541-737-4829, perry.hystad@oregonstate.edu or Katherine Came, 604-822-0530, Katherine.came@ubc.ca

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This map shows levels of greenness in Vancouver, British Columbia. Babies in greener areas had higher birthweights. Vancouvergreenness

Researcher Perry Hystad

Hystad

OSU students to run across Oregon this summer promoting health and physical activity

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University students and brothers Jeremiah and Isaiah Godby will spend their summer running across Oregon in an effort to encourage Oregonians to improve their health through better eating and exercise.

The “Health Extension Run 2014” was designed to inspire Oregonians to take charge of their health and educate community residents about the role the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences and OSU Extension Service offices in each county play in building healthy communities. The event coincides with the recent accreditation of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

The run begins July 7 on the Oregon State campus in Corvallis and is expected to finish Sept. 5 at OSU. The Godbys plan to run 1,675 miles through 30 Oregon counties, with stops in many communities along the route for public events such as health festivals and county fairs. OSU students, alumni and all other supporters are encouraged to run or walk with the brothers in their communities.

Jeremiah, 21, and Isaiah, 23, are exercise and sports science majors in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. They said they are motivated to run in hopes that they can inspire others to get more exercise, eat better and make other health improvements.

Jeremiah Godby is an example of the difference exercise can make. After he decided to cut back on video-game playing and began running in high school, he lost 45 pounds.

“I feel so much better,” he said. “I just enjoy life more.”

He and his brother took up long-distance running as a form of advocacy and, after completing similar long runs in the past, volunteered for this summer’s Health Extension Run. 

“We just want to inspire people to live a balanced life,” said Isaiah Godby. “It’s not as complicated as people think. Walk an extra block or park your car further away in the parking lot.”

The run will kick off at 9:30 a.m. on July 7 with a short send-off ceremony on the steps of the Memorial Union quad on the Oregon State campus in Corvallis. The Godbys will then run around the OSU campus before heading north on Highway 99.

The brothers will run about 32 miles a day, traveling north from Corvallis to Astoria, down the Oregon Coast, across to Eugene and then south to Medford before heading east to Klamath Falls, where they’ll participate in the 100th anniversary celebration of the Klamath Basin Research & Extension Center. From Klamath Falls, they’ll run to Bend, Prineville, John Day, Burns and Ontario.

The Godbys also will spend a day in Boise, Idaho, where they’ll run through the city and participate in a Beavers alumni event. For more information or to register for that event, visit http://bit.ly/1rf1gOT.

From Boise, the runners will head back to Ontario, where they’ll head north to Baker City and LaGrande, then work their way back west through towns including Pendleton, Heppner, Condon, The Dalles and Hood River. They’ll be in Portland for a few days before running to Salem for the Oregon State Fair, then to Albany before wrapping in Corvallis on Sept. 5.

Find more information about events in the community at http://bit.ly/V9zK8a and follow along with the Godbys on their blog, http://bit.ly/1z65ue8.


Editor's note: Video b-roll is available to download for use with this news release: http://health.oregonstate.edu/broll/healthextensionrun.
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Isaiah Godby, 530-574-7420 or godbyi@onid.oregonstate.edu; Jeremiah Godby, 530-574-7421 or godbyj@onid.oregonstate.edu; Kathryn Stroppel, 541-737-6612 or Kathryn.Stroppel@oregonstate.edu

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Jeremiah, left, and Isaiah Godby

Health Extension Run 2014

OSU gains state’s first accredited school of public health

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences was granted accreditation today, making it the first school of public health in Oregon to earn that recognition.

The accreditation, from the Council on Education for Public Health, means OSU has the only accredited school of public health between San Francisco and Seattle. The distinction elevates the College of Public Health and Human Sciences’ visibility and stature, increases its ability to attract and retain committed students and world-class faculty, and helps the college continue its mission of education, research and outreach, OSU officials say. The recognition also allows the college to support a qualified work force in Oregon and beyond.

The college is a leader in efforts to redesign and integrate the public health curriculum. Harvard and Columbia University are among the handful of other accredited schools in the United States using this approach. At Oregon State, faculty members already work across disciplines in public health and the human sciences.

“Integration is where the future of public health is headed,” said Tammy Bray, dean of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. “We believe a life-span, interdisciplinary approach will make the greatest impact on society’s most complex public health issues, which don’t come in discipline-shaped blocks.”

Helping Oregonians become healthier at all stages of life, with an emphasis on prevention and outreach, is a central focus of the college.

“Our faculty in OSU Extension, including programs in 4-H and Family and Community Health, have worked with their neighbors in every county in Oregon for 100 years to create local solutions to their health challenges,” Bray said. “Of the nation’s 50-plus schools of public health, we’re the only one with that level of community outreach built in.”

Bray said receiving accreditation means that experts in the field of public health agree that the College of Public Health and Human Sciences is of high quality; has the curriculum, faculty and resources needed to continue meeting high standards; and produces graduates that have the knowledge and skills to succeed in their fields.

The council awarded the College of Public Health and Human Sciences a five-year accreditation, the maximum granted. The decision follows an extensive and rigorous review of the college’s academic programs that took more than four years to complete. The college’s accreditation will be up for review and renewal in 2019.

“This accreditation establishes our role as a credible leader in public health in Oregon and beyond,” Bray said. “It comes at a time when a spotlight is on the public’s health like never before, and we are uniquely positioned to work with our communities in creating healthy environments that enhance lifelong health and well-being.”

This year, the college extended its reach beyond state and national borders by launching the new Center for Global Health, which joins three existing research centers – the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families; the Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health; and the Center for Healthy Aging Research.

The college serves more than 3,500 undergraduate and 300 graduate students, and its alumni go on to work in a variety of positions in high-demand health care settings, including federal and state health agencies, hospitals and clinics, community organizations, county health departments, non-governmental organizations and many more.

“Public health is an increasingly relevant and vital profession. At OSU, enrollment in our public health programs is up 116 percent over the last five years, a trend that’s still on the rise,” Bray said.

“That’s a good thing for the public, because more than three times the number of current public health graduates is needed to meet the health needs of the future,” she said. “Our graduates will be well prepared to work collaboratively to solve current and emerging public health challenges not only in Oregon but across the globe.”


About the Council on Education for Public Health: The council is an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and public health programs that prepare students for careers in public health. The primary professional degree in these programs is the Master of Public Health.

Editor's Note: Video b-roll is available to download for use with this news release: http://health.oregonstate.edu/broll/accreditation

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Tammy Bray, 541-737-3256, tammy.bray@oregonstate.edu

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College of Public Health and Human Sciences Dean Tammy Bray

Dean Tammy Bray

Norm Hord (left) is the Celia Strickland and G. Kenneth Austin III Endowed Professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.
Norm Hord