Marjorie Aelion, associate vice chancellor for research and engagement and former dean of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS), was part of a delegation from the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) invited to the organization’s inaugural Academic Regional Meeting in Asia: Global Conference on Public Health Education in the 21st Century. The ASPPH is the voice of accredited academic public health, representing schools and programs accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
The meeting, held earlier this fall in Taipei, Taiwan at host institution the National Taiwan University, convened 67 international participants representing 14 countries and 44 institutions and organizations that all share a dedication to advancing public health education and preparing the future global public health workforce. The meeting’s agenda centered around the collective academic public health challenges faced in the United States and in Asia.
Aelion served on a panel discussion on “The Challenges on Academic Public Health Research” with faculty members from the National Taiwan University College of Public Health and St. Luke’s International University (Tokyo, Japan) Graduate School of Public Health. The panelists spoke to the challenges, as well as the opportunities, for academic public health research from their countries’ standpoint. Aelion provided a broad perspective on the principle challenges for academic public health research in the U.S., including funding source limitations, the ramifications of politics and policy on research agendas, and productivity expectations at some major research universities for faculty who must bring in their salaries on grant funds.
“The meeting was a tremendous success. National Taiwan University had amazing facilities and did an excellent job co-organizing and hosting the meeting,” says Aelion. “Given the success of this meeting, we hope to see a second regional conference scheduled within the next two to three years, possibly in Latin America or Africa.”
Following the ASPPH Regional Meeting, Aelion was invited to travel to St. Luke’s International University in Tokyo, Japan, where she met with public health faculty, Dean Hiroyoshi Endo and President Tsuguya Fukui. The site visit was at the request of the university, which recently started a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program delivered in English.
“The dean and faculty were interested in information on both CEPH accreditation and the benefits of ASPPH membership,” says Aelion. “Having been responsible for the most recent re-accreditation of the SPHHS, and having participated as a CEPH site visit team member for three re-accreditations, both in the U.S. and Canada, I could speak to both re-accreditation from the U.S. and non-U.S. perspective, and the benefits of ASPPH membership.”
Aelion sees her visits as a bridge toward expanding ASPPH membership globally. “I’ve been a strong supporter of global members at ASPPH and served on the ASPPH Global Health Committee for many years. One of our goals is to increase global membership, which requires CEPH accreditation,” explains Aelion, who served as a member of the ASPPH board and secretary/treasurer for six years. “Both the regional meeting and the invited visit served as excellent opportunities to provide information on the accreditation process to non-member institutions, and to provide a forum for public health faculty, staff and students from across North America and Asia to meet and learn from one another.”