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School of Public Health takes significant step forward

The Augusta University School of Public Health has taken an important step forward as its Initial Application Submission to transition from an accredited Master of Public Health program to a School of Public Health has been accepted by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Over the last several months, the CEPH reviewed the school’s guiding statements, evaluation practices and detailed curricular information for the school’s seven graduate programs to ensure Augusta University has the key building blocks in place for a full school of public health.

“I am excited for what our School of Public Health will do for Augusta University and our students, the citizens of Georgia and beyond,” said Augusta University President Brooks A. Keel, PhD. “As the state’s only public academic health center, it is our responsibility and our privilege to help ensure the health of Georgia’s citizens and communities, while also offering our students a comprehensive educational experience designed to prepare leaders who understand the important role of public health in today’s society.”

AU’s School of Public Health will now enter a 24-month self-study period, with the final report due no later than March 1, 2026. Following the self-study period, there will be an official accreditation site visit in fall 2026 before a final decision on accreditation will be given.

“We had incredible foundation pieces already in place, and that certainly helped with this process,” said Neil J. MacKinnon, PhD, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “I am grateful for the diligence of Dean Waters and the School of Public Health’s leadership team, faculty and staff over the last several months in working toward this goal, while also continuing to prepare our students for their future careers and conducting important research.”

“When Dr. Keel and Dr. MacKinnon brought me to Augusta University to lead this endeavor, I knew it would be both an opportunity and a challenge. But I had no idea how wonderful it would be to work with this truly outstanding team of leaders, faculty, staff, and students,” said founding Dean Teresa M. Waters, PhD. “I am so grateful for their dedication, collegiality and passion for public health. And now the real work begins. We will continue to build on the great work that has gotten us to this point, focusing on our mission of improving population health, promoting individual well-being and supporting all in achieving their maximum health potential in Georgia and beyond. We will do that through world-class, student-centered education and training, impactful research and authentic community partnership.”

AU’s School of Public Health is home to seven programs: the Master of Public Health and Master of Science degrees in biostatisticsclinical translational sciencedata science and epidemiology, and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees in biostatistics and applied health sciences.

The initial leadership team includes Waters; Jie Chen, PhD, interim associate dean for Academic and Student Affairs and interim chair of the Department of Biostatistics, Data Science, and Epidemiology; Gianluca De Leo, PhD, interim chair of the Department of Health Management, Economics, and Policy; Aaron Johnson, PhD, interim associate dean for Research and Community Engagement and interim chair of the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, and Health Promotion; and Bobbie Willcox, interim assistant dean for Administration.

a man and two women walk down the hallway looking at each other and laughing
Aaron Johnson, PhD, Dean Teresa M. Waters, PhD, and Bobbie Willcox [Michael Holahan/Augusta University]
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Written by
Milledge Austin

Milledge Austin is a senior communications and marketing strategist for Communications and Marketing at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at

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man with glasses standing in front of blue background Written by Milledge Austin

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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