Year in Review: 10 highlights from 2022

2022 was a year of celebration, achievement and new milestones. Following are some highlights that made the past year special for the School of Public Health.

1. The first cohorts of the Master of Health Administration and B.S. in Health Services Management and Leadership graduated 

A new legacy of healthcare leaders crossed the stage at the May 2022 Commencement ceremony as the first graduates of the Master of Health Administration and B.S. in Health Services Management and Leadership programs received their degrees.

“The graduation of our first class of MHA students not only marks the culmination of nearly five years of work by the School of Public Health, but also signals the commencement of the next generation of healthcare leaders in West Virginia,” said Erik Carlton, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs.

“As the need for healthcare leaders continues to grow, our students will be equipped to meet that growth,” said Audra Hamrick, director of undergraduate studies for the School of Public Health. “Their overall educational experience has helped them articulate personal management philosophies and learn to manage basic human, fiscal, and physical resources needed for accomplishing organizational goals.”

Read more about the first graduating class of the Master of Health Administration program and the B.S. in Health Services, Management and Leadership programs by visiting our news page.

2. Scholarship gift created to support School of Public Health students dedicated to working in West Virginia

Select West Virginia University School of Public Health graduate students committed to bettering health in the Mountain State will benefit from a scholarship gift made by two retired health professionals.

Joseph I. Golden and Margaret A. Burkhardt, of Beckley, established the Golden-Burkhardt Scholarship for Public Health, which goes to students from West Virginia pursuing a master’s degree in public health. Recipients must demonstrate financial need. To read more, visit the WVU Foundation website.

If you’re interested in supporting the School of Public Health, visit the WVU Foundation website to make a gift.

3.  The Dean’s Colloquium Series returns

After a brief hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dean’s Colloquium speaker series returned this year, featuring experts from CDC-NIOSH and UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health. Learn more by visiting the Dean's Colloquium Series website. 

4.  Delta Omega Gamma Mu honorary society recognized once again as Chapter as the Year 

Gamma Mu, the West Virginia University chapter of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, earned the Chapter of the Year award and was recognized during the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Expo in Boston, Mass.

Gamma Mu 2022-23 President Mohini Chatterji said that the group’s diverse range of service activities was one of the attributes that led to this recognition.

“We could just be doing the same five activities every year because that’s easy and convenient,” Chatterji said. “Instead, we’re constantly trying to find new organizations to partner with, new service activities to volunteer for and [other] ways to positively impact our school and the society.

Read more about Gamma Mu’s achievement by visiting our news page.

5.  The WVU School of Public Health’s presence at the 2022 American Public Health Association's (APHA) Annual Meeting and Expo

The School of Public Health was well-represented at the APHA Annual Meeting and Expo in Boston, Mass., this year. Students Brittany Smith and Jordan Ceglar each presented their research to the public health professionals in attendance, and faculty members Drs. Elizabeth Claydon and Toni Morris were recognized with the 2022 Innovative Curriculum Award.

6.  Public Health Mountaineers recognized for contributions to the University and community

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the School of Public Health received multiple accolades in 2022.

At the Chancellor’s Outstanding Achievement Awards Ceremony this summer, Biostatistics Associate Professor Christa Lilly and Director of Accreditation, Planning and Evaluation for Academic and Student Affairs Heather Henderson were recognized for their mentorship and service.

Board of Governors Chairman J. Thomas “Tom” Jones, former president and CEO of the West Virginia University Health System and former chair of the school’s Visiting Committee, was inducted into Upsilon Phi Delta, the national honor society for health administration. Read more about his distinguished career in healthcare by visiting our news page.

For more than 20 years, West Virginia University School of Public Health Professor and Program Director Christopher Martin, MD, has dedicated his career to education and research in occupational medicine at WVU. This past summer, he received national recognition for his achievements from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Learn more by visiting our news page.

7.  WVU Master of Public Health program revamped to provide greater flexibility and be more competitive

In an ongoing, strategic effort to give graduates a competitive edge, the West Virginia University School of Public Health revamped one of its longstanding graduate degree programs.

The Master of Public Health program, established nearly 25 years ago, was recently reshaped to enhance its core curriculum and provide students with an even higher level of professional preparation. The renovated program welcomed its first cohort at the start of the fall 2022 semester. Read more about these updates by visiting our news page.

8. WVU School of Public Health research featured in the news

Several faculty members of the School of Public Health were featured in multiple major publications as experts in their field.

Nicholas Castle, PhD, MHA, professor and chair of the Health Policy, Management and Leadership program, weighed in on a "staggering pattern of failures" in nursing homes across America. Read the full story from USA Today.

Keith Zullig, PhD,, professor and chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, sat down with West Virginia Public Broadcasting education reporter Liz McCormick to talk about the impacts that school shootings have on children – and what the adults in their lives can do to help them feel safe. Read the full story from West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Bethany Barone Gibbs, PhD, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, was featured in WVU Today for her research of the links between pregnancy, sedentary behavior and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Read more from WVU Today..

Occupational and Environmental Sciences professor emeritus Alan M. Ducatman, MD, MSc, was featured in an article about the delayed reaction from environmental officials to test a Pennsylvania town for PFAS, or “forever chemicals.” Read more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

9.  Gov. Justice announced DHHR secretary and advisory roles for WVU leaders

Gov. Jim Justice named Dr. Jeff Coben interim secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, effective Dec. 12, 2022. Read the full announcement.

10. The School of Public Health celebrates its 10th Anniversary

The West Virginia University School of Public Health celebrated a decade of distinction from Oct. 25-28 that brought students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the school together.

“It’s amazing what can be accomplished in 10 years. It may seem like a long time, but in the context of higher education—and considering West Virginia University turned 155 years old earlier this year—10 years isn’t a lot of time. Yet, as a school, we made every year count,” said School of Public Health Dean Jeff Coben.

Revisit this milestone celebration by visiting our news page.