Dean’s Welcome to SPH Students

August 21, 2017

Subject: Welcome and Update on Accreditation

As the Interim Dean for the School of Public Health, I would like to take this opportunity to say welcome to the returning students and those of you who join us this semester. I also want to share with you our progress on transition from program to an accredited school of public health.

All of the necessary infrastructures (both physical and personnel) have been put in place. In brief, the school team (faculty, staff, administration, and student representatives supported by a community advisory board) worked together to advance the transition from the program to a school. On behalf of this team, I am pleased to share with you that, to-date, we have upgraded the library and computer labs, and several other areas have been renovated. We have added some 10,000 square feet that include new offices for department chairs and program directors, and a 200 seats lecture hall on the 2nd floor. Additionally, the School has hired all the required number of faculty and administrators to meet the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) accreditation requirements (except one faculty and hiring is in progress). We also have hired several new staff members, including a grant writer and a director for public health workforce development (one task of the director is to prepare students, alumni and community members to take tests for certificates such as CHES, MCHES, CPH, and working on GIS). Another new position that has been added to the school team is the Director for Accreditation/Assessment. Please visit the School’s Webpage at: for additional information and the School’s ongoing activities.

I am also pleased to share with you that the School’s application for transition from program to a school, which was submitted to the CEPH in December, 2016, was approved in February 2017, and a ribbon cutting ceremony for the School of Public Health took place in early April 2017. JSU Interim President Rod Paige, Provost Evelyne Leggette, JSU Cabinet Members and Deans, the Honorable Governor Phil Bryant, several Mississippi Legislators and Commissioner Glenn Boyce, representing Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) attended to celebrate this milestone accomplishment. You can see the entire ceremony at this link:

Most recently, August 2-3, 2017 school representatives attended a CEPH required orientation in Washington D.C. This was followed by a CEPH staff consultation visiting the School to assist with the self-study report that the faculty and staff have drafted. The said document will be finalized and submitted to the CEPH in November/December 2017. The CEPH 3-day site visit will take place in early May 2018. Based on feedback from our accreditation consultant and the CEPH consulting staff, we expect that the School will be fully accredited next year.

In the interim, we are counting on you to assist us in the effort to becoming an accredited School of Public Health; the first in Mississippi and most likely the first in an HBCU! That is building a legacy and we all will remain part of it. Our dream to have a School of Public Health at JSU has thrived despite a bumpy path since the inception of the Public Health Program in 1999. Please know that the School’s team members are committed to making sure that all of you receive the best education and a memorable learning experience, and that, above all, you graduate with skills and competencies needed to compete successfully in your areas of expertise.

Additionally, as it was announced earlier, beginning August 25, 2017, a “Meeting with the Dean” will be held each Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in Conference Room 120 (across from the computer lab). Students, faculty and staff can meet with me individually or in groups to express concerns and discuss possible collaborations with faculty, staff, fellow students, and other units within the University. No appointment will be needed, and it will be on a first come, first serve basis.

Finally, each Friday, faculty, staff, students and community members are encouraged to participate in the School’s “Walking Campaign.” The initial walk began in October 2016, and it was well attended. The walk is an ongoing event, within the Jackson Medical Mall, to promote healthy well-being and fellowship. Please plan to participate and encourage your family members and friends to participate too. The walk starts from where the JMM Security Station is located. It starts at 4 p.m. SHARP.

Again, welcome to an exciting academic year.

Thank you.

Mohammad Shahbazi, Interim Dean
Professor, Behavioral Health Promotion and Education