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UCLA's School of Public Health to Remain Intact in Restructuring

March 18, 1994|THOMAS H. MAUGH II | TIMES MEDICAL WRITER

The UCLA School of Public Health, scheduled to be "disestablished" in a cost-cutting restructuring effort, has been reprieved and will continue to function as a separate school, Abdelmonem Afifi, dean of the school, said Thursday.

The school's budget will be cut by about 25% over three to five years, however.

In the original restructuring proposal announced last June, some of the school's departments were to be folded into a new School of Public Policy. As a compromise, a new department of health policy studies will be established in the School of Public Policy and many researchers in the School of Public Health will hold joint appointments, according to a proposal in a letter sent to the UCLA Academic Senate by Chancellor Charles E. Young.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday March 19, 1994 Home Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Column 4 Metro Desk 2 inches; 62 words Type of Material: Correction
UCLA plans--A story on UCLA's School of Public Health in Friday's Times stated that Chancellor Charles E. Young planned to shut down the master's and doctoral programs in library studies. Although Young initially proposed those closures, UCLA officials say he now has "endorsed a merger of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science with the Graduate School of Education that preserves the library school's degree programs."

Other changes in the proposed restructuring affecting the undergraduate School of Nursing and the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, among others, are proceeding as planned, but are still subject to approval by the Academic Senate.

"We're ecstatic, of course," Afifi said. "It's much easier to come back from a budget cut than to come back from the dead."

The proposed changes were necessitated by cutbacks in UC funding imposed by the legislature. Young chose to meet those restraints by selective cuts of campus programs rather than by imposing across-the-board reductions he has said could lead the university to mediocrity.

Under Young's original plan, the schools of Public Health and Architecture and Urban Planning would be dismantled and their courses incorporated into other disciplines. The School of Social Welfare and the School of Library and Information Sciences would also be downgraded. Many of the courses would be reconstituted in a new School of Public Policy. In addition, Young plans to shut down the undergraduate degree program for nursing and the master's and doctoral programs in library studies.

Response to the proposed closings has been vociferous, especially with regard to the schools of public health and nursing, which have come to new prominence in this time of health care reform. The public health school, especially, has had active programs in violence prevention and AIDS education and prevention, Afifi said, and the faculty has been active in the debate over health care reform.

The school must still solve its funding problems, however. "We've been told that the campus will do its best to make the phase-in (of funding cuts) in such a way as to protect the academic program and to allow us to seek extramural funding to compensate for the loss," Afifi said.

He acknowledged, however, that finding new funds will not be easy in the current economic climate.

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