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College of Public Health

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

JOHNSON CITY – To provide international public health training opportunities for students, the Niswonger Foundation is contributing $20,000 to East Tennessee State University’s College of Public Health. This funding will support the new Frist Global Health Scholars Program.

Established by former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the program will allow the College of Public Health to offer international field placement experiences. Funding from the Niswonger Foundation will be used to support three ETSU students who will live, work and learn in a developing country as part of their educational training.

“The Niswonger Foundation’s generosity is a major boost for public health education,” said Dr. Randy Wykoff, ETSU dean of Public Health. “There is a dire need for more public health leaders, and graduates who have an international perspective will have a more comprehensive understanding of their profession. Our students’ knowledge of public health and community-based programs here in the United States can be of tremendous value in developing countries.

“We are grateful to Senator Frist and the Niswonger Foundation for providing this exciting and innovative learning opportunity for our students.”

Wykoff said ETSU students participating in the program will receive on-site mentoring from qualified health professionals working in those communities and will oversee public health intervention programs addressing concerns such as clean water and sanitation, insect/disease control, maternal education, child survival, or environmental remediation. All ETSU undergraduate and graduate public health students are required to complete a field internship.

The Greeneville-based Niswonger Foundation is the brainchild of businessman and philanthropist Scott M. Niswonger, who remains the Foundation’s sole benefactor. The mission of the Foundation is: “To create opportunities for individual and community growth through education.”

Speaking of the Foundation’s contribution to the college, Scott Niswonger stated: “A major goal of the Niswonger Foundation is to prepare our region's future leaders to face changes and challenges. Health care is a major concern for our region and beyond. The Frist Global Health Scholars Program, along with the efforts of the ETSU College of Public Health, will provide these future public health professionals the opportunity to gain an exceptional understanding of their field of study by providing them the chance to address health issues on an international scale. We are proud to be part of this extraordinary educational endeavor.”

Further information about the Niswonger Foundation can be found atwww.niswongerfoundation.org.

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