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UK College of Public Health Celebrates Successful Year at the 2021 Winter Assembly

December 17, 2021

At the University of Kentucky's College of Public Health (CPH), 2021 was a banner year. As the college moves into the final phase of the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan, it continues to be the catalyst of positive change for population health through multidisciplinary and applied research, and collaborating with partners to improve health in Kentucky and beyond.  


"Reflecting on 2021, I am so proud of our entire CPH community," says Donna Arnett, Dean of the UK College of Public Health. "This year certainly presented many challenges; however, our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and our college partners collectively came together to make this a successful year. Looking forward to 2022, we are confident that the best is still yet to come for our college." 


At their recent virtual 2021 Winter Assembly, the college celebrated, and reflected back, on their impact areas which included academic excellence and programming, student success and activities, research, partnerships and collaborations, and the investment in their people. 


Academic Excellence and Programming 
This year, the college approved two new academic programs including the PhD in Health Services Research (HSR), with the first cohort starting in the Fall of 2021, and the MS in Biostatistics (BST), which launches their first cohort in the Fall of 2022.  


Since Dean Arnett joined the UK College of Public Health in 2016, the college's programs have experienced tremendous growth. For instance, the number of credits in the Bachelors of Public Health (BPH) program have increased by 50%. Graduation rates in the BPH and other graduate programs are all meeting, or exceeding, projections in 2021. 


Student Success and Activities 
Many great activities with our students were held this year. In the Fall 2021 semester specifically, CPH held events for graduating seniors, MHA Student Association (MHASA) volunteered in the community including partnering with the Kentucky Blood Center for Big Blue Crush, attending the APHA Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado, and alumni speaking events including Ron Holder who was a MHA Executive Seminar guest speaker.  


"These grads have persevered through unprecedented challenges and it's fair to say that many of our students have, and continue, to be on the front lines of COVID-19," says Dean Donna Arnett. "They support contact tracing efforts in local and state health departments as well as vaccination and testing efforts. We are so proud of them and will do everything we can to support them as they continue to go out and support our community." 


Research Impact 
Home to seven college-based centers, the UK College of Public Health has a robust research agenda that emphasizes collaboration within our faculty, external institutions, and agencies.  


In FY2021, projects led by our faculty received approximately $22 million in funding from federal, state, and private sources to tackle tough issues including cancer, opioid addiction, environmental health, and health disparities in rural communities, throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and across our nation. The number of research awards, sponsors, and principal investigators (PI's) all increased in 2021 and are all poised to increase further in 2022. 


Investment in People 
The college has hired 30 new employees in 2021, filling critical positions in areas such as: administrative support, analysts, data support and management, education and outreach, human resources, IT, marketing and communications, research, student advising, and other important staff and faculty positions. At the Winter Assembly, staff/faculty awards and recognitions, along with service pins for years of service, were celebrated by the CPH community. 


The outstanding staff award went to Jennifer Stevens, Director of Academic Advising in the Student Engagement, Advising and Success (SEAS) department. Britt Allen, Student Affairs Director in the Student Engagement, Advising, & Success department and Elizabeth Crolley, Grant Program Coordinator, were also recognized for their contributions to the college. 


The Dean’s Innovation in Teaching Award​, Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, and the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award went to Dr. Anna Hoover, Assistant Professor in the Preventive Medicine, and Environmental Health department; Dr. Sarah Cprek, Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Health, Behavior, and Society department; and Dr. Emily Slade, Assistant Professor in the Biostatistics (BST) department, respectively. 


About Us 
In 2004, the University of Kentucky established the College of Public Health to develop transformative solutions to health challenges through teaching, research, and service efforts. Located in Lexington, Kentucky, we take seriously our public health responsibility to all communities and individuals in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond. Learn more about our health champions at