October to December 2018

Welcome to a new year and a new academic term.

This is my first quarterly report since assuming the role of dean in the School of Public Health in July 2018. I welcome the opportunity to keep you informed and share highlights of the work we're doing to promote and protect the health of people, and ways we are connecting with various communities.

Appointment / Retirement

I am very pleased to announce that I have appointed Norm Neumann to the role of vice-dean for three years beginning January 2019. We are fortunate to have him serve on the School's Senior Leadership Team. He will provide leadership to various aspects of our work, including assisting with resource planning, supervising teaching faculty and conducting annual performance reviews of all faculty members.

Dr. Neumann replaces our former vice-dean, Faith Davis, who completed her term in August 2018. We held a retirement reception in honour of Dr. Davis in October. She is internationally recognized as an outstanding epidemiologist. In addition, she is acknowledged for her contributions to the School's quality assurance reviews and its successful reaccreditation, as well as for her guidance on the redesign of our master of public health (MPH) curriculum.

Academic Programs

Our recent reaccreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health is evidence of our commitment to maintaining high standards in our educational programs. An example of this commitment is the revised MPH core curriculum that we rolled out this past fall. The overarching goal is to increase the public health practice readiness of our MPH graduates.

Because the curriculum is integrated across disciplines, students will learn to think across disciplines-just what employers require of today's public health practitioner.

Academic Events

Injury Prevention Centre celebrates 20th anniversary

Recently, the Injury Prevention Centre (IPC) celebrated its 20th anniversary with a public lecture and gala. For two decades, IPC has worked collaboratively with partners and groups to tackle issues of preventable injury that are affecting the health and well-being of Albertans and others. With strong leadership from the director, Don Voaklander, and associate director, Kathy Belton, the Centre is at the forefront of injury prevention in Canada. I congratulate the entire staff on a job well done.

This is Public Health™ Week and Lecture

In November 2018, we held a successful This is Public Health™ Week. The event included a thought provoking panel discussion about the health effects of the Fort McMurray wildfires, and showcased the excellent work of our students and staff.

We wrapped up the week with an outstanding public lecture by Stephanie Yanow, entitled Worldwide killers: Public health responds. (You may view the lecture online.) The week's activities highlighted the important work we do to improve the lives of people locally and globally.


From a study that shows variations in time to breast cancer diagnosis to investigations into systemic influences of weight bias, there is much important research being done by our faculty and students. I invite you to view our news collection and This is Public Health™ section to learn more.

Student Life

Fall Convocation Fall Convocation took place in November. I congratulate the Class of Fall 2018, the largest graduating class for a fall convocation-37 students-since the School's inception. I believe they are poised to make their mark and shape public health. Together, we are challenged-and obligated-to both serve and lead. You may view the photos or read about one graduate-Hannah Brooks.

School of Public Health Students' Association - School of Public Health Alumni Chapter | Wine and Cheese

Our School of Public Health Students' Association (SPHSA) partnered with the School of Public Health Alumni Chapter (SPHAC) to host a very successful wine and cheese event last fall, with more than 100 students, alumni, faculty and public health practitioners in attendance. In addition to learning that takes place in the classroom, the exposure of our students to others who are working in public health is an important aspect of their preparation. Thank you, practitioners, for investing in our students in this way.

SPHSA Winter Gala

As the academic term came to a close, the Winter Gala-organized by SPHSA-was a wonderful celebration and opportunity to strengthen our connections with each other. Congratulations to our students for hosting another successful event.

SPHSA election

Congratulations to outgoing SPHSA president, PJ Vasdev, and the executive and directors-at-large, on a job well done over the past year. I'm pleased to welcome, Sadaf Ekhlas as our incoming SPHSA president, and the 2018-19 SPHSA executive and directors-at-large, as they take on the added responsibility of representing their peers and being involved in student government.

Alumni Engagement MHSA Welcome Home Luncheon

The year 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the creation of the master of health services administration (MHSA) program. This presented a great opportunity to welcome back to campus our MHSA alumni. Although we no longer offer the program, its 300+ graduates have held-and continue to hold-significant leadership roles in government, health systems and other sectors.

Victoria / Vancouver brunches

I had the privilege of meeting our alumni in Victoria and Vancouver during a lecture and brunch event hosted by our university. During occasions such as this, I am impressed by the wealth of experience held by our alumni. We are grateful for the connections that we have with our alumni community. Together, we all have a role to play in the future of public health.


I am very proud of the work and achievements of our faculty, staff, students and alumni. We have much to celebrate this quarter as several individuals have been recognized for their contributions to the School and, more broadly, to advancing public health. I invite you view a full list of awards, scholarships and other accolades.

I value the connections we, as a School, have with our collaborators, partners, alumni and the broader community, and I encourage you to stay connected with us. We are better equipped to understand and address public health challenges locally and globally when we do so together.

Shanthi Johnson, Professor and Dean