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Closing Public Health School

August 18, 1993

* In your "For the Record" of Aug. 10, which discusses the UCLA administration's proposal to close several professional schools, including the School of Public Health, you state " . . . students would still be able to take classes and major in these subjects." In the case of the School of Public Health, that is both factually incorrect and a disservice to those of your readers who are considering training in public health.

The Council on Education in Public Health, the body that accredits public health degrees in the United States, has stated that all public health degrees at UCLA will be suspended immediately if the School of Public Health is disestablished. Without a public health school, UCLA would be permitted to apply for accreditation only for programs in community health education and in community health/preventive medicine. As programs, they could offer accredited master's degrees, but would be ineligible to offer accredited doctoral degrees. Some departments currently offering accredited degrees at both levels, for example, Environmental Health Sciences, would no longer be eligible for council accreditation.

Even if UCLA were able to convince the council that it had created viable programs eligible for accreditation review, the scope of training in them would be substantially narrower than is currently provided in the School of Public Health. The graduates of such programs would be at a disadvantage when competing for leadership positions with graduates of fully accredited schools of public health. Therefore, by disestablishing the school, UCLA will forfeit its ability to provide the high level of professional training in public health that students have come to expect from the University of California.

EMIL BERKANOVIC

Professor and Chair

Dept. of Community Health Sciences

School of Public Health

UCLA

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