Academic Health Department Overview
Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health’s Office of the Associate Dean of Community Engagement and Outreach is committed to partnering with local health departments to establish and formalize Academic Health Departments. Academic Health Departments are mutually beneficial partnership designed to enhance public health instruction, practice, research, and workforce development to improve health in counties throughout Arizona.
The college has a long history of partnerships with local health departments throughout Arizona. Academic Health Departments strengthen the links between public health practice, research, training, and service though leveraging existing partnerships and establishing opportunities for new collaborations.
Academic Health Departments are structured differently in each county or tribal reservation and are designed to benefit the health needs of each community.
More information on Academic Health Department core concepts may be downloaded as a PDF from the Public Health Foundation's website.
The Office of the Associate Dean of Community Engagement and Outreach has established Academic Health Departments with Pima County Health Department, Cochise Health and Social Services, and Pinal County Health Department. Academic Health Departments with Yuma County Health and Social Services and Graham County Health Department are underway.
Cochise Health and Social Services
Cochise Health and Social Services and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health began the discussion of formalizing an Academic Health Department in early 2020 and the Academic Health Department was officially established in September 2020.
Collaboration highlights with Cochise Health and Social Services Department and MEZCOPH include:
- Contact Tracing Support
- An MPH student, under the direction of Cochise County epidemiologist, Martha Montano, is conducting a year-long contact tracing internship with Cochise Health and Social Services Department to identify residents in Cochise County who have been exposed and/or infected with COVID-19
- The student is establishing a protocol to invite confirmed cases and contacts to participate in a cohort study conducted by the University of Arizona to explore COVID-19 occurrences in the state of Arizona
- Vaccine Registration Graphics
- In collaboration with Cochise County staff, Craig Janiszewski and Tammi-Jo Wilkens, student interns developed vaccine registration material for vaccination sites in Cochise County
- National Network of Libraries of Medicine
- In February 2020, Education and Outreach Librarian with the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) presented free public health resources available for health departments and academic institutions through NNLM. A list of trainings available through NLLM can be found on the NLLM website here. (https://nnlm.gov/training/class-catalog). Thanks to Cochise Health and Social Services Accreditation Coordinator, Rachel Butterworth, for helping organize!
- Suicide Prevention Graphics Project
- MEZCOPH faculty and a doctoral student provided guidance for suicide prevention resources that address unique public health needs in Cochise County.
- AHD graphic design interns partnered with Cochise County's Public Health Social Worker to develop suicide prevention materials for four unique populations in Cochise County 1. Veterans 2. Youth 3. Migrant workers 4. Aging population
- Farmworker COVID-19 Graphics
- In partnership with Cochise Health and Social Services, Yuma County Health Department, Southeastern Arizona Health Education Center, and Compesinos Sin Fronteras , AHD student interns developed graphics to provide COVID-19 education specific to the farm working community
Graham County Health Department
Graham County Health Department and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health began discussing the formation of an Academic Health Department in September 2020 and are currently in the process of officially establishing an Academic Health Department. Collaboration highlights include:
- Substance Abuse Coalition
- Graham County Substance Abuse Director, Kathy Grimes, staff from the Arizona Center for Rural Health and AHD interns, Robyn Stea and Kendra Claridge, are developing graphics and materials specific for Graham County detailing how to administer Naloxone and address opoid use disorder.
- Material will be distributed throughout the Graham County community, including at the newest Sober Living Community. Graham County is a recent community distributor of Naloxone
- Youth Mental Health Collaborative Program
- The Graham County Health Department Program Coordinator, Rosa Contreras, recently created the Youth Mental Health Collaborative. MEZCOPH faculty are collaborating with Graham County Health Department on this initiative, including involving student and program planning support.
Pima County Health Department
In June 2019, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and Pima County Health Department signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Academic Health Department. This mutually beneficial partnership is designed to enhance public health instruction, practice, research, and workforce development to improve health in Pima County. Download the Memorandum of Understanding.
The Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and Pima County Health Department has a long, successful partnership. The signing of the MOU celebrates the organizations’ strong relationships and commitment to further strengthen the links between public health practice and academia.
During the summer of 2019, representatives from Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and Pima County Health Department formed a planning committee to develop the Academic Health Department’s Inaugural Work Plan for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Collaborations Highlights with Pima County Health Department and Mel and Enid Zuckerman’s College of Public Health’s (MEZCOPH) Office of the Associate Dean of Community Engagement and Outreach Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health (MEZCOPH) include:
- Seven Mini-Public Health Schools featuring co-presenters from Pima County Health Department and MEZCOPH with attendance representing more than 250 health department staff, students, MEZCOPH faculty and staff, and community members.
- Stock Inhaler for Schools Program
- MEZCOPH faculty and staff developed the Stock Inhaler For Schools Program and partnered with Pima County Health Department staff to implement the program at schools throughout the county
- PCHD Internship Program
- Since 2018, Pima County Health Department has hosted over 95 MEZCOPH student interns
- Class Projects for Pima County Health Department
- EHS 525: Global to Local Environmental Change and Human Health. Students work on a semester long project with PCHD partners to address climate change in Pima County
- EPID 660: Infection Disease Epidemiology. Students are paired into groups to work with four Pima County Health Department staff to collect data and conduct surveillance and analysis
- COVID-19 Collaborations
- COVID-19 School Advisory Committee: MEZCOPH and Pima County Health Department employees collaborate to support schools with re-opening in Pima County
- SAFER Students (Student Aid for Field Epidemiology Response) assist in investigations of positive COVID-19 cases.
- Graphic design students partnering with faculty and Pima County Health Department staff to translate data into visual messaging for the community
- Faculty and students providing Pima County Health Department with infection control tacking assistance for long-term care facilities
- Faculty and public health students assisting Pima County Health Department Director and community partners on graphics on how to respond if an employee has been exposed to COVID
- Smoke-Free Wildcats Club
- Smoke-Free Wildcats is a collaboration between Pima County Health Department, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, ASHLine, Arizona Center for Tobacco Cessation, Healthy Arizona Worksites Program, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Chicanos Por La Causa to protect people from the dangers of secondhand smoke and form connections with health care and community professionals.
- Terry Norbrook, CDC REACH Program Specialist at Pima County Health Department, Dr. Uma Nair and Dr. Mark Martz, MEZCOPH faculty, and Emily Waldron, MEZCOPH Community Engagement and Outreach Coordinator serve as advisors for the club.
- To learn more about Smoke Free Wildcats, visit https://www.smokefreewildcats.com
Academic Health Department Launch at Pima County Health Department
Internship and Career Showcase at MEZCOPH
Pinal County Public Health District
Pinal County Public Health District and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health established an Academic Health Department in October 2020. Collaboration highlights include:
- Graphic design student intern support and content support from Dr. Kelly Reynolds and Professor Leila Barazza to assist health department staff with the Pinal County COVID-19 Communications Toolkit.
- School Health Toolkit
- AHD student interns are providing graphic design and research support to update the School Case and Outbreak Toolkit.
Yuma County Public Health Services District
Yuma County Public Health Services District and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health are in the process of establishing an Academic Health Department.
Collaboration highlights with Yuma County Public Health Services District and MEZCOPH include:
- Farmworker COVID-19 Graphics
- In partnership with Yuma County Health Department, Southeastern Arizona Health Education Center, and Compesinos Sin Fronteras and AHD interns graphics were developed to provide education on COVID-19 specific to the farm working community
- Collaboration with Yuma County Health District, Cochise Health and Social Services, Campesinos Sin Fronteras, and the South East Area Health Education Center (SEAHC) to promote farmworker health and safety.
- Essential Worker Flu Shot Campaign
- Collaboration with Yuma County Health District and MEZCOPH graphic design student intern to create material to promoting flu shots to the essential worker workforce in Yuma County.