New and Green at SPH

New and Green at SPH

Made in Michigan: Three New Public Health Career Options

Ann Arbor:

1. Joint Health Informatics Program: Offered jointly by SPH and the UM School of Information, a new graduate-certificate and two-year master’s program in health informatics prepares students for leadership and innovator roles in the fast-growing area of health informatics—an interdisciplinary field encompassing computer, information, and social and behavioral sciences, as well as health-application domains.

The UM program reflects a major national effort to encourage the widespread use of new information tools in health care in order to increase the quality of care and reduce costs. Students in the program will gain skills and knowledge across clinical informatics, consumer health informatics, and public health informatics. Charles Friedman, formerly the chief scientific officer of the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, heads the UM program.

The first group of students started the graduate certificate program this fall; the first master’s-degree students will enroll in the fall of 2012. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that health information–management and health-informatics employment will grow nearly 18 percent by 2016. More on careers in health informatics.

2. SPH Certificate in Health Care Infection Prevention and Control trains SPH students to become part of a health care–associated infection (HAI) prevention and control team; HAIs are a major public health problem. Students enrolled in the program will be given preference for infection-control internships in Michigan, a nationwide leader in infection-control activities. Betsy Foxman, director of the certificate program and of the UM Center for Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, says the program evolved in part in response to student demand. “The combination of the certificate and practical experience in an internship will give students an edge for obtaining positions in hospital infection control following graduation,” says Foxman, the Hunein F. and Hilda Maassab Endowed Professor of Epidemiology.


3. In what SPH Associate Dean Nancy Janz calls a “unique option for individuals living in Michigan,” current and future public health professionals can now further their careers with a Master of Public Health from UM–Flint. The UM–Flint Department of Public Health and Health Services is collaborating with UM SPH to offer the MPH by combining the UM SPH–based Certificate in Foundations of Public Health (CFPH) program with additional UM–Flint coursework. Some courses—including all of the CFPH courses—may be completed online. Details.

A Greener School

Adjust that Thermostat!

Let’s say you want to cut fuel costs and reduce your carbon footprint, but you’ve got a 450,000+ square-foot facility with more than 400 employees. The solution? Sign up for Planet Blue, the campuswide UM initiative that as of this year has saved the university more than $4 million annually in energy costs and reduced overall energy usage by 12.8 percent. SPH joined the program in March. Chaired by Professor Stuart Batterman, an SPH Planet Blue advisory committee of faculty and staff is identifying priorities and recommending measures to boost the school’s environmental sustainability. Items under consideration:

  • Low-flow faucet aerators in all restrooms
  • Motion-sensing computer power strips in 100 offices
  • Reduced air-handler operation schedules
  • Fewer office refrigerators, microwaves, and space heaters
  • Occupancy-sensed lighting fixtures
  • Integrated occupancy-based heating, ventilation, and air conditioning controls
  • Insulation upgrades

SPH Wins Green-Commuting Challenge

The prizes were nothing to scoff at on a hot summer day—free ice cream and Italian ice, a grab-bag of coupons from downtown restaurants and shops—but the real prize during Ann Arbor’s sixth-annual Commuter Challenge last May was the satisfaction of doing good for the environment. Sponsored by the city’s getDowntown Program, the challenge pits local organizations against one another in a free and friendly competition to see who can get the most people to try a green commute for one month. This year’s winner for organizations of 500 or more employees was SPH.

“That’s ahead of Zingerman’s!” said Laurie Carpenter, a research area specialist with the UM Center for Managing Chronic Disease, who captained the SPH team.

More than 22 percent of SPH employees took part in the challenge, logging 16,398 green miles and avoiding more than 14,000 pounds of CO2. Carpenter’s goals for next year? “Increase our participation. Maybe organize a bike-to-work group. Stay #1, of course.”