UW School of Public Health E-news
April 2009  |  Return to issue home

Welcome from the Dean

Dean Pat Wahl
Dean Pat Wahl

Welcome to the first edition of SPH E-news! Combining Updates and Spotlight on Research and taking them online isn’t a task we’re undertaking lightly, but we hope it will accomplish three goals: save the considerable cost of printing and mailing, reduce our use of paper, and bring you more timely news. We’ll have a more flexible publication schedule and be unconstrained by space limitations. Plus, we can link to Web pages providing more information on a range of topics. Our partnership with the UW Alumni Association offers us the opportunity to send you our E-news, and the key to communicating with you is your e-mail address.

You probably also noticed in our E-news masthead another big change: our name. It’s been shortened to School of Public Health. On Jan. 15, the UW Board of Regents approved dropping “and Community Medicine” from our name. Back in 1970 when we became a School, “community medicine” reflected our strong medical orientation. We had, after all, our beginnings as the Department of Preventive Medicine in the School of Medicine. Many of our faculty were MDs, and the MPH degree was open only to physicians. But our focus has changed, and we no longer have faculty or programs of study that reflect community medicine. Our new name is less confusing and better aligned with our peer schools’ names, and School of Public Health fits nicely into our wonderful new logo that merges our distinctive Soul Catcher with the UW’s new word mark.

In the section on faculty, you’ll see more change. We welcome several new faculty and two new leaders: Susan Allan as director of the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice and Larry Kessler as chair of the Department of Health Services. We also congratulate Bill Daniell for being selected as the next Rohm & Haas Professor of Public Health Sciences.

Those are highlights of the positive changes we have undergone recently. On the downside, the economy and resulting state budget cuts are bringing unwanted change to the University and our School. The magnitude of the cuts and how the University will apportion them will be unknown for some time, but we have been planning for the serious actual and potential consequences of reductions to our already meager state funds. We will not fill vacant faculty positions and have laid off nearly 30 staff since last June, with more layoffs expected. And we must make major changes in the future. Far-reaching directional change has multiple consequences so we will proceed thoughtfully, strategically, and with maximum consultation, a process that is already well under way throughout the School. To avoid unintended consequences we will develop a long-term plan for a significant reallocation of resources that will make fundamental changes in how our School operates. All options are on the table.

We will keep you posted in upcoming issues of E-news and always welcome your feedback.


Dean Pat Wahl



Pat Wahl, Dean
UW School of Public Health

Photo by Dan Lamont

April 2009  |  Return to issue home

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