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Cougar Health Research Academy

Institute of Community Health, Houston Health Department Team to Train Undergraduate Students in Public Health

May 14 — UH College of Pharmacy's Institute of Community Health and the Houston Health Department are teaming on a new online program to train UH undergraduate students in a range of specialty skills in the public health field. 

The four-week program will provide knowledge and skills in the area of epidemiology and biostatistics, qualitative and quantitative research designs, communication and motivational interviewing in health research, and ethical issues in health research taught by UHCOP Department of Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy faculty members.

As part of the Houston Health Department collaboration, trainees also will be exposed to public health practice with tutorials and basic trainings on epidemiology and disease reporting, disease prevention and control, environmental health, consumer health services, immunizations, laboratory services, and public health preparedness and disaster management.

Students will be eligible for a $1,000 stipend after successful completion of the program, and will be prepared to serve as volunteers during public health emergencies and disasters.

One of the primary needs in training the next generation of public health professionals is an expected wave of vacancies in the field, with approximately one-half of the current public health workforce entering retirement age.

"Despite the fact that public health workforce is vital to protecting the health and safety of the public, over the years, there have been reports of substantial workforce losses that pose serious threats to meeting the emerging and future public health challenges," said E. James Essien, M.D., Dr.P.H., professor in the college's Department of Pharmaceutical Health Outcomes and Policy and founding director of the Institute of Community Health. "I believe that the Cougar Health Research Academy is a vital step towards promoting public health as a career choice for undergraduate students."

Support for the academy is being provided by a Cougar Initiative To Engage (CITE) program grant from the UH Office of the Provost.

The deadline to apply for one of the 12 positions available in the program, which runs June 7-July 2, is May 28.

Interested students can apply online or visit the CHRA page for more information.