Joint research projects, guest lecture opportunities, adjunct teaching appointments and student internships are among the many benefits anticipated as a result of a partnership announced today between the new Mercyhurst Institute for Public Health and the Erie County Department of Health.
The partnership takes the form of an “Academic Health Department” (AHD), which is the public health equivalent of the more familiar “teaching hospital” affiliation between medical schools and hospitals.
“The AHD will strengthen the relationship between public health practice and its broad academic base and enhance public health education, training, research and service, all of which will benefit not only our two institutions but the greater Erie community and beyond,” said Dr. David Dausey, who directs Mercyhurst’s new public health initiative.
A Pittsburgh native and 1997 Mercyhurst alumnus, Dausey is an internationally respected public health expert. He is a consultant for Rand Corporation’s Global Health Division and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He recently left his role as senior director of health programs and initiatives at Heinz College of Carnegie Mellon University to pioneer Mercyhurst’s new public health academic program and institute.
Meanwhile, Erie County Department of Health Director Andrew Glass said the new partnership “will maximize the talents and resources of both partners and at the same time deliver the highest quality, most efficient public health services to the community.”
As the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention, public health is a collaborative enterprise, said Dausey, who, in addition to facilitating the new AHD, has several other collaborations in the works.
According to a newly signed Memorandum of Understanding between Mercyhurst and the health department, a steering committee composed of representatives from both institutions will be formed to determine future collaborative activities.