School of public health launched at UCC

A new school of public health that will seek to improve the health of the nation has been launched by University College Cork (UCC).

The university’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health that grew considerably over the last number of years will become the School of Public Health.

Head of the School of Public Health, Ivan Perry, said the school was modelled on international schools of public health in Britain and throughout Europe and the US.

“The school will have a clear and explicit focus on research and advocacy in population health, health services and health systems research,” said Prof Perry.

The school will incorporate the National Health Services Research Institute that was established with funding from the Higher Education Authority and the Health Research Board-funded Centre for Health and Diet Research.

It will work closely with the National Cancer Registry, the National Suicide Research Foundation, the National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre, the HRB Clinical Research Facility at the Mercy University Hospital Cork, UCC’s Oral Health Services Research Centre and the Department of Public Health HSE-South.

UCC president Patrick O’Shea said public health was about creating and sustaining the conditions for a healthy society.

“It addresses the health and well-being of populations at the local, national and global level,” said Prof O’Shea.

Head of the College of Medicine and Health UCC, Helen Whelton, said that the establishment of a dedicated school of public health represented a significant development for health policy and practice in Ireland.

The School of Public Health is already playing a leading role in changing health policy and practice in Ireland.

The recently published Cork Children’s Lifestyle Study, led by Janas Harrington, found most children (82%) consumed sugar-sweetened drinks and influenced the decision by the Minister for Finance to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages next April.

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