Public Health

Since our founding as a medical college in 1868, Wayne State University has been a cornerstone of Detroit's education and health landscape, contributing significantly to Michigan's health care workforce and conducting research that improves the well-being of our community. As we continue to deepen our commitment to the health and education of Michigan families, we are excited to take the next steps toward establishing a school of public health, amplifying our commitment to urban health education and research, and preparing the next generation of Michigan's community health workforce. 

The imperative

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the vulnerabilities in our system for public health, with a national loss of 50,000 jobs over the last decade. Personnel shortages and diminishing resources have left states ill-equipped to handle future crises. Alarmingly, 44% of public health employees across the nation plan to retire in the next five years, with 32% intending to exit within the next year. 

Michigan faces a particularly critical challenge. Ranking high compared to other states in terms of chronic disease severity and preventable hospitalizations and low in resources to support public health, the state grapples with at least 450 vacant public health positions as of October 2023. Our urban communities continue to grapple with health disparities that affect marginalized and underrepresented populations. Despite these challenges, Michigan hasn't seen an increase in accredited public health schools for 83 years. Establishing a new school of public health is imperative to bridging this gap and advancing the health of our communities. 

Why Wayne State?

Wayne State University is a “university of opportunity” that is in our city, works for our city and does so with our city. We are uniquely poised to advance Michigan's newest school of public health. Rooted in Detroit, we have a history of groundbreaking research addressing health disparities and fostering partnerships with the medical community, creating a robust pipeline for workforce development and solving real-world problems. A dedicated, community-focused school of public health will further empower Wayne State to train public health professionals and engage the community to prevent illness and injury while promoting healthy lifestyles. 

Several factors make Wayne State the ideal home for Michigan's newest school of public health focused on our community: 

  1. Urban focus: As Michigan's only member of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, Wayne State is an urban public research university that holds the dual distinction of being a top-tier creator of new knowledge and application through research and economic development (Carnegie R1, very high research activity) and deeply engaged with our community (Carnegie elective classification for Community Engagement), aligning with our commitment to urban public health. 

  1. Program excellence: The bachelor of science in public health program, Wayne State's second-largest undergraduate major, is the largest of its kind in Michigan. 

  1. Comprehensive approach: Our master of public health program emphasizes education, engagement, theory, practice and interdisciplinary research, focusing on urban and underserved communities locally, nationally and globally. 

  1. Community partnerships: Wayne State leads the Michigan Area Health Education Center, collaborating with local communities to enhance education access and address health care supply, distribution, diversity and quality. 

  1. Centers of expertise: Hosting the state's only nationally accredited Poison and Drug Information Center, Wayne State provides crucial resources and expertise, extending its impact to all 83 Michigan counties. 

  1. Local health initiatives: Collaborating effectively with Wayne County, Michigan's most populous county, Wayne State has a record of success in actively tackling severe health challenges, positioning itself as a vital force in improving health outcomes and factors. 

  1. Innovation in outreach: Wayne State's mobile health initiative, for example, which is poised for expansion, offers a promising model that, with adequate resources, could extend its impact statewide. 

In establishing Michigan's new community-focused school of public health, Wayne State will not only address the urgent workforce needs but also reaffirm our commitment to advancing public health for the benefit of communities in Detroit and across Michigan. Doing so will take the dedication and collaboration of university leadership, faculty, students and community partners. 

This page will detail the latest developments in this multiyear initiative. Please check back regularly for updates.  

Estimated accreditation timeline
Dates are approximate and subject to change.

January 2023
Begin Phase II planning school of public health

December 2024
Complete accreditation cycle for M.P.H. program

January 2025
Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) action on M.P.H. program

January/February 2025
Submit Initial Application Submission (IAS)

April 2025
CEPH action: IAS

June/July 2025
Formal consultation visit by CEPH

August/September 2026
Submit preliminary self-study document to CEPH

October 2026
Receive CEPH reviewers' comments on preliminary self-study

November 2027
Incorporate reviewer feedback into self-study document

December 2027
Submit final self-study document to CEPH

March 2027
CEPH accreditation visit

May 2027
Receive draft accreditation visit report from CEPH

June 2027
Prepare and submit response to draft site visit report

July 2027
CEPH action on SPH accreditation

Executive Committee 

Laurie Lauzon Clabo, Ph.D., RN, FAAN
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Wayne State University

Mark E. Schweitzer, M.D.
Committee Chair
Vice President for Health Affairs, Wayne State University
Professor of Radiology, School of Medicine

Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, Ph.D.
Dean, Graduate School

Donna Dauphinais
Director, Strategic Initiatives and Projects, Office of Health Affairs

Stephanie Hartwell, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Karen Mourtzikos, M.D.
Associate Vice President for Health Affairs, Wayne State University
Associate Professor of Radiology, School of Medicine

Subcommittees and co-chairs*

* All co-chairs are also Executive Committee members


Rachel Mahas, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Director, M.P.H. program, Wayne State University
Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine

Darin Ellis, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Wayne State University
Professor of Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering

Michael McLeod, J.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine

Finance and Facilities

Bethany Gielczyk
Interim Chief Business Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Operations, and Treasurer, Wayne State University

Community Engagement

Sonia Hassan, M.D.
Associate Vice President for Health Affairs, Wayne State University
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine

Melissa Runge Morris, M.D.
Director, Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors
Professor of Pharmacology and Oncology, School of Medicine

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging and Accessibility

Donyale Padgett, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, Wayne State University

Policies and Bylaws

Paul Kilgore, M.P.H., M.D.
Director of Research, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Adjunct Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Services, School of Medicine

Faculty, Staffing and Curriculum/Degree Offerings

Patricia A. Wren, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Professor and Chair, Department of Public Health, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Jinping Xu, M.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine
Co-director, Michigan Area Health Education Center (MI-AHEC)

Nate McCaughtry, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Health and Community Impact
Professor and Assistant Dean of Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies, College of Education


Steven James Korzeniewski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine

Carol Miller, Ph.D., PE
Director, Health Urban Waters
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering

Clinical Affiliates / Practice Placements

Philip D. Levy, M.D.
Associate Vice President of Research, Wayne State University
Professor of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine

Abdul El-Sayed, M.D., Ph.D.
Director and Health Officer, Department of Health, Human and Veterans Services for Wayne County
Scholar-in-Residence in Criminal Justice and Public Health, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Student Services Configuration/Space

Dionyssios Tsilimingras, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine


Carolyn Berry
Interim Senior Associate Vice President, Marketing and Communications