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UNMC History:

The College of Public Health


The Nebraska legislature authorizes cities of 3,000 or more to establish local boards of health.


The State of Nebraska establishes the first statewide Board of Health, headquartered in Lincoln.


Solon Rodney Towne, MD., professor of Hygiene and State Medicine, joins the Omaha Medical College. He served as the former Omaha Commissioner of Health, 1892-1898, and is a prominent physician in hygiene and a ranked expert on rabies.


The State Board of Health is replaced with the Department of Health.


The Department of Health is replaced with the Department of Public Welfare which oversees the State Public Health Laboratory, and composed of the Divisions of Epidemiology, Vital Statistics, Laboratories, Veneral Disease and Sanitary Engineering.


The Department of Public Welfare is reorganized and renamed the Nebraska State Department of Health and was composed of the Bureau of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Division of Child Hygiene, Division of Laboratories, Division of Sanitation, Division of Contagious Disease, and the Bureau of Examining Boards.


Nebraska establishes the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Division of Laboratories separates laboratory testing between human and agricultural/environmental. The human testing laboratory is moved to the UNMC Omaha campus and renamed the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory (NPHL).


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation’s Turning Point Initiative allows for Nebraska to develop “Turning Point: Nebraska’s Plan to Strengthen and Transform Public Health In Our State.”


The Nebraska Educational Alliance for Public Health Impact (NEAPHI) is established and co-chaired by Dr. Magda Peck (UNMC Department of Pediatrics) and Dr. Dave Palm (NE DHHS Office of Public Health). This alliance brings together representatives of numerous academic and practice organizations concerned with Nebraska’s public health workforce training and education to explore joint interests.  


The Board of Regents approves a joint UNMC and UNO Master of Public Health Program and the two schools launch the Collaborating Center for Public Health and Community Service.

Magda Peck is named UNMC/UNO Master of Public Health Program founding director.

A $50 million endowment (Nebraska Health Care Cash Fund) is established by LB692 and provides $5.6 million annually to fund 16 new multicounty health departments.


UNMC/UNO joint Master of Public Health program enrolls 18 students in its first year.


UNMC/UNO Master of Public Health program is nationally accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.


The Great Plains Public Health Leadership Institute (GPPHLI) is developed and launched. This regional Institute is directed by Dr. Magda Peck and managed by Dr. Brandon Grimm (UNMC Department of Pediatrics), covering Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota.

Philip Smith, MD, Chief of Infectious Diseases, receives the inaugural Robert D. Sparks, MD, Award in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at UNMC's inaugural Public Health Day.

Alice Schumaker, PhD named director for the UNMC/UNO Master of Public Health program.


The College of Public Health is approved by the Board of Regents. It is the first new college formed on UNMC’s campus since 1972.  Dr. Jay Noren, MD, MPH, is named dean.


The Board of Regents approves the Center for Reducing Health Disparities. The Center collaborates with community organizations and government agencies to improve the quality of health and wellness of racial and ethnic minorities and rural and underserved populations.

The Center for Environmental Health and Toxicology administration transfers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to UNMC’s College of Public Health.

Five departments within the college are approved by the NU Board of Regents: Biostatistics; Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health; Epidemiology; Health Services Research and Administration; and Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health


College doctoral programs are established: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research, Environmental Health Sciences, and Health Services Research and Administration.

Dr. Keith Mueller is named interim dean.

The Women Center for Advancement and the Service Learning Academy of the College of Public Health establish the EMPOWER project to address health disparities of women affected by domestic violence while exposing students from all health professions to the relevant issues.


The Board of Regents approves a new Center for Humanities, Ethics and Society.

Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, MBBCh, MD, MPH, is named the second dean.


The Board of Regents approves the creation of a Center for Global Health and Development.

Master of Public Health degree becomes a professional degree

In October, Dean Ayman El-Mohandes appoints Dr. Magda Peck associate dean for community engagement and public health practice and Dr. Brandon Grimm as manager of public health practice. These appointments result in the GPPHLI becoming a college program.

NEAPHI is restructured into the Public Health Practice Council, an advisory body within the college.

The Center for Reducing Health Disparities sponsors a regional conference in partnership with the Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairman’s Health Board to educate on and facilitate research with American Indian populations. UNMC was one of five institutions in the U.S. to receive a grant from the Association or Prevention, Teaching, and Research.


The Harold M. & Beverly Maurer Center for Public Health opens at a cost of $16.5 million. This 52,500-square-foot, three-level facility provides a home for the newly established College of Public Health.

The Great Plains Public Health Training Center is established to strengthen the technical, scientific, managerial, and leadership competence of Nebraska’s growing workforce.

The College is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) and is a full member of the Association of Schools of Public Health. 

The NU Board of Regents approves two one-year certificate programs in Emergency Preparedness and Infectious Disease Epidemiology.


The Office of Public Health Practice is established with Dr. Brandon Grimm as director.

The Center for Health Policy is established.

 The PhD in Epidemiology, dual JD/MPH, and MS in Emergency Preparedness programs are established.

The college begins offering the MS in Emergency Preparedness and professional certifications in Public Health and Emergency Preparedness completely online.


College of Public Health and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law create the MPH/JD dual degree program. It is one of eight such degrees offered in the country and allows students to obtain expertise and specialized training in public health law.

Members of the College of Public Health Student Association partner with Saratoga Elementary School to provide fun and informative health education to about 50 students (K-6th grade) enrolled in the afterschool group, Collective for Youth. 

The UNMC College of Public Health is one of six institutions in the United States selected to participate in the 2013 Public Health cohort of eight Fulbright Visiting Scholars from Libya.

A PharmD/MPH dual degree program is established.


Ali S. Khan, MD, MPH, MBA is named third dean.

UNMC and the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance receives $200,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and implement a comprehensive environmental education program for the city’s underserved Spanish-speaking Latino community. Chandran Achutan, PhD, associate professor in the College of Public Health, is the grant’s principal investigator.


The Latino Public Health Advisory Committee is created.

Bill and Ruth Scott establish the college’s Harold M. Maurer, MD, Distinguished Chair in Public Health.

The Drs. Warren L. and Gretchen G. Berggren Lectureship Series is established.

The UNMC College of Public Health hosts the 2015 Nebraska Policy Forum, "Charting a Course for a Healthier Nebraska," presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.


The American Public Health Association Region VII conference is hosted by the Public Health Association of Nebraska and takes place at UNMC.


Researchers at the UNMC College of Public Health and the University of Virginia School of Medicine (UVA) received a $1.9 million grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study the effectiveness of two childhood obesity treatment programs for medically underserved families.

UNMC's Center for Reducing Health Disparities in the College of Public Health hosts a free and open to the public symposium, “Addressing Violence as a Public Health Issue.”

The master’s degree in health care management is approved by the NU Board of Regents.


The College receives the Harrison Spencer Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Association of School and Programs of Public Health. It is only the 3rd public health program in the nation to win this prestigious award.

The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) is approved by the NU Board of Regents. The degree is fully online and can be completed in as few as three years.

The UNMC College of Public Health Student Response Team assists Health Departments across the state with monitoring social media sites and providing timely and accurate health information to the public.

Faculty from the college partner with faculty from UNL on a five-week, online class “Saving the World: Global Leadership in the Time of Pandemics”


The Claire M. Hubbard Water, Climate, and Health Fellowship is offered through the college.

The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) is approved by the NU Board of Regents. The degree is fully online and can be completed in as few as three years.

The college assists The Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards to create a virtual celebration of the arts that has a public health theme.

Siobhan Wescott, MD, is named the inaugural holder of the Dr. Susan and Susette (Inshata Theumba) La Flesche Professorship in Public Health.


The college and UNL College of Architecture launch the Master of Community and Regional Planning and Master of Public Health Dual Degree.

The college and the McGoogan Library launch the UNMC Nebraska HEALING Project in collaboration with Nebraska tribes and tribal communities to meet the unique health education need of the Native population.