Designation important for students, employers, health care providers, area residents

The national accreditation just announced for the joint Public Health Program at LSU Shreveport and LSU Health Shreveport underscores the quality of the program for students and concludes a lengthy and challenging process for faculty and staff at the two institutions.

The Council on Education for Public Health has announced the accreditation of the Masters in Public Health program, which is offered through a collaboration between the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences on the LSUS campus and the School of Allied Health Professions at LSUHS.

“We know of the outstanding work going on at LSUS and the School of Allied Health Professions,” said John Vassar, LSUS provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “It is a strong endorsement of the quality of that work when it is recognized by external groups like CEPH.”

LSUS Chancellor Larry Clark praised the efforts of both campuses as they address the health care issues of Northwest Louisiana. “We are very pleased about this major accomplishment. CEPH accreditation underscores the quality efforts that take place here, which in turn benefits students, health care providers and area residents.”

“Earning accreditation is a very challenging process,” echoed LSU Health Shreveport Chancellor Robert Barish, MD, MBA. “Accreditation opens the door to the continued growth of the program. It is something we can all be very proud of.”

In its report, CEPH said, “The program’s goal statements emphasize the importance of instruction, research and service, and its organizational culture embraces core public health values and goals.”  The report also noted that the programs use “an ecological approach to create a learning environment that promotes a framework for intellectual learning and development of public health core values.”

For Dr. Timothy Winter, chair of the LSUS Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, CEPH accreditation confirms and validates the efforts that he and many colleagues have undertaken during the years since 2007, when the first MPH students were accepted, and 2010, when the first graduates were approved. “CEPH accreditation should open doors for our students as they are recruited for jobs,” he said.  “People are looking for accredited programs…This designation is also a springboard as we continue to grow and excel.”

The program has graduated 38 and currently has 29 current students, both full-time and part-time.

“We offer the only MPH in the region,” said Program Director and Allied Health Professor Jill Rush-Kolodzey, MD DrPH. “Our program affords students the opportunity to learn about disease prevention and health promotion not only locally but globally.  The possibilities for future careers make this program so dynamic.” Some of those job possibilities include legislative policy analysts, health educators and epidemiologists, as well as continuing on to get an MD or a doctorate in public health.

The initiative to establish an MPH program in northwest Louisiana began over a decade ago and was submitted to the Louisiana Board of Regents in 2006 as a cooperative initiative between LSUS and LSUHSC-S.  With the support of both universities, the MPH program accepted its first class under the direction of the Program Director, Dr. Roosevelt Jacobs.  Upon his retirement in 2012, Dr. Jill Rush-Kolodzey assumed the position.

Classes are held in the evenings, and students can graduate in as little as two years. Faculty members from LSU Shreveport, as well as from the schools of medicine and allied health professions at LSU Health Shreveport, teach classes.

Applications are currently being accepted until Nov. 30 for the winter 2016 session. For more information about the program, call 318-813-2905 or see

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