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College of Public Health


Academic Health Department

AHDs are models used by the training center to address the current need to fuse public health practice and academia and encourage collaboration for public health efforts.  Read more about AHDs in this article written by the students involved: 

An Academic Health Department (AHD) is a formal collaboration between a school of public health and practice-based organizations. The intent is to bridge the gap between academia and practice by linking students with public health organizations for long-term field placement opportunities.

Schools of Public Health need:

  • Practical experience for students
  • Opportunities for faculty to incorporate practice-based research

Local Health Departments need:

  • Increased capacity to conduct ongoing assessment
  • Support for program innovations

In 2012, LIFEPATH supported establishment of an AHD involving the East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) College of Public Health and the Sullivan County Regional Health Department in Blountville, Tennessee.  The model used for the Sullivan County Regional Health Department and ETSU College of Public Health differs from other AHDs established across the United States. A DrPH student serves in the leadership role as the AHD coordinator and is placed at the Sullivan County Regional Health Department and ETSU College of Public Health for a two-year rotation. Duties include collaboration with academic and practice supervisors on research development, project management, as well as the supervision and mentorship of undergraduate and MPH students interning at Sullivan County. This AHD arrangement heightens depth and accountability for student interns by helping them establish long-term field placement goals that involve meaningful experiences developed over time.

Academic Health Department Coordinators

Katie Johnson, MPH(c)
Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office
185 Treasure Lane
Johnson City, TN 37604

Emily Alford, MPH(c)
Sullivan County Regional Health Department
154 Blountville Bypass
Blountville, TN 37614

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