The Council on Education for Public Health Accreditation
What is CEPH?
The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH – pronounced “seef”) is an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and public health programs. CEPH draws upon representatives from public health academic, professional, research, and government organizations to improve the quality of public health education.
What is the Self-Study?
CEPH requires accredited schools to produce a self-study report for each seven-year accreditation review, including the initial accreditation.
The self-study report is used by an external committee that visits the school and meets with stakeholders, including faculty, students, staff, alumni, and external stakeholders. This committee recommends to the CEPH Board whether the school should be accredited.
Our self-study document is a comprehensive description of the organization, governance, resources, faculty, students, curriculum, and research in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health.
On April 24, 2015 the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health Initiative (SPH) submitted the accreditation application and was approved by CEPH June 17, 2015 to begin the accreditation process for a School of Public Health.
On April 28, 2016, the preliminary self-study document was submitted to CEPH, and the final document was submitted on August 26, 2016.
How is accreditation of a program different from the accreditation of a school?
For more than 20 years, CEPH has accredited the Oregon Masters in Public Health (OMPH) program to offer programs leading to an MPH degree. In 2010, the presidents of OHSU and PSU led a strategic planning process focused on leveraging the assets of both universities to serve the Portland urban area. A steering committee comprised of faculty and administrative representatives from both OHSU and PSU met regularly to develop the collaborative model and infrastructure for the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. In the last two years, we implemented the action plan to address the requirements for CEPH school-level accreditation. We completed the following:
- Implemented three new MPH programs by splitting the biostatistics/epidemiology into two separate programs and creating a new program in environmental systems & human health to unite with the existing programs of health management & policy, health promotion, and primary health care & health disparities; all new MPH programs graduated students;
- Folded the four existing baccalaureate concentrations in health studies under the OMPH umbrella in 2015-16 (aging studies, community health, health sciences, and school health); developed a new BS program in applied health & fitness in 2016;
- Pulled in the existing academic masters programs in biostatistics and physical activity & exercise into the School; and
- Created three new PhD programs in community health, epidemiology, and health systems & policy; three doctoral students graduated from health systems & policy program;
In contrast with the accreditation for the OMPH program, school-level accreditation also covers the research and scholarship activities of our combined faculty and staff.
Why do we seek CEPH accreditation?
Specific reasons for the importance of accreditation are both external and internal.
- For the public, accreditation promotes the health, safety, and welfare of society by assuring competent public health professionals.
- For prospective students CEPH accreditation serves a consumer protection purpose. It provides reassurance that the school or program meets accepted standards.
- For prospective employers, it provides assurance that the curriculum covers essential knowledge and skills needed for today’s jobs.
- CEPH accredits 59 schools of public health, which is the de facto benchmark for public health degree programs.
The OMPH had a successful CEPH accreditation review in 2014 for its MPH programs. As part of the school of public health application process, we received feedback from CEPH in a highly iterative process. This included written feedback on our application in June 2015, an in-person consult visit on our preliminary self-study draft with the deputy director of CEPH (Mollie Mulvanity, MPH) in February 2016, and feedback from an external review panel in June 2016. After clearing these, we have the review of the final self-study and site visit to demonstrate how well we meet CEPH’s rigorous standards. Given the feedback to date, we are cautiously optimistic about CEPH accreditation of the OHSU-PSU SPH.
What is the purpose of the site visit?
The site visit is the most important step in the process. Three volunteer evaluators assigned by CEPH will visit the School to assess our compliance with the CEPH criteria. They will interview faculty, students, public health professionals, administrators, and provosts to verify that our policies and procedures are operationalized and systematized. The reviewers have already spent significant time becoming familiar with the OHSU-PSU SPH. The interviews are extremely important for adding depth and detail.
What happens after the site visit?
At the end of the site visit on Friday, the evaluation team will meet with the deans and provosts for an exit interview. During the interview, they will read each accreditation criterion and their conclusion as “fully met,” “partially met,” or “not met.” The protocol allows for no opportunities for deans and provosts to interact with the evaluator team. The Office of the Dean will provide a summary of their evaluation to the internal community within a month.
We will receive their evaluative report and will be able to correct factual errors or misunderstandings, not differences in interpretation or opinion. All materials are due by May 10, 2017 for the spring 2017 Council meeting. If we are successful in our bid for accreditation, our initial accreditation date will be set retroactively to June 2015 to account for the application, self-study and site visit process. This would be an important occasion in the realization of all of our dreams and hard work.
Previous CEPH Accreditation Documentation
The Oregon MPH Program has been accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) since 1996. Our Current, full seven-year accreditation term extends to July 1, 2021.
On September 23, 2013 we submitted our Oregon MPH Program Self-Study and associated resource files to the CEPH for reaccreditation review.