In September 2006, the chancellor of City University of New York, Matthew Goldstein, announced that CUNY planned to create a collaborative School of Public Health (SPH) to open within five years. The school would have an urban focus and bring together the University’s public health programs at Brooklyn, Lehman and Hunter Colleges and the Graduate Center, as well as other faculty with relevant expertise from around the University. Then, in 2007, CUNY received approval from its Board of Trustees and the New York State Education Department to create a Doctor of Public Health (DPH) program jointly offered by Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center (GC), the home for the university’s 32 doctoral programs. In addition to its doctoral programs, the SPH offers MPH programs at three CUNY campuses, with specializations in (general) Public Health (GPH) and Health Care Policy and Administration (HPCA) at Brooklyn College; Community Health Education (COMHE), Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (EOHS), Epidemiology and Biostatistics(EPI/BIOS), Public Health Policy and Management (HPM) and Public Health Nutrition at Hunter College; and Community-Based Public Health and Health Equity (CBPH) at Lehman College. It also offers bachelor degrees in Community Health and Nutrition and Food Sciences at Hunter College, providing an important pipeline into its graduate programs.

In November 2009, Hunter College and City University of New York broke ground for a new building for the School of Public Health in East Harlem, which opened its doors in July 2011. The school shares the new, eight-story, 147,000-square-foot green building on Third Avenue between East 118th and 119th Streets with the Hunter College School of Social Work. Faculty, staff and students from both schools work closely with community organizations and health and social service agencies in East Harlem to strengthen existing and create new approaches to improving the well-being of East Harlem and other low-income communities.

In the last few years, SPH faculty have identified four core research and teaching themes that build on existing strengths, help fulfill the mission, address emerging public health needs in New York City and elsewhere and offer the promise of meaningful external partnerships and resources. These themes are creating healthier cities, promoting healthy aging across the lifespan, preventing and controlling chronic disease and advancing health equity. In the coming years, the SPH expects to further develop these themes and weave them into the fabric of its teaching, research and service. Under the leadership of Founding Dean Kenneth Olden, the school developed several flagship initiatives that are in planning or early implementation stages. These a New York City Food Policy Institute to support the development of healthier food environments in New York by providing scientific and policy guidance to city agencies, nonprofits and service providers; a public policy program to provide evidence-based solutions for local public health problems; a comparative effectiveness research program on the cost-benefit of public health policies and practices; and a comprehensive analysis of how local health-care services are organized in New York City.

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