UTHealth Houston's new Academic Health Partnership promises greater opportunities for students and public health workers
The UTHealth Houston School of Public Health is excited to announce the formal establishment of an academic health partnership with Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS). The formalized agreement promises enriched educational opportunities for students, a pipeline to employment for graduates, increased professional development for public health workers, and the streamlining of public health research and delivery for Texans. The partnership is one of the first of its kind in the state and is the evolution of a long-standing collaboration.
Academic Health Departments are often described as the public health equivalent of "teaching hospitals" and reduce the separation between the education of public health professionals and the practice of public health. They offer benefits for academic institutions, health agencies, and the public. A list of over 100 Academic Health Departments across the United States is maintained online by the non-profit Public Health Foundation. We are proud to lead the way in adding our partnership with DCHHS to this list.
The agreement outlining this initiative with DCHHS formalizes and expands upon existing collaborations between the school and the county health department. UTHealth Houston has participated in initiatives with the partner agency, including disease prevention and vaccination efforts, health promotion campaigns, environmental and workplace safety initiatives, and research. The partnership expands these collaborations with innovative elements that increase access to expertise, sharing of technology and research, and efficiency across the board including streamlining the educational and occupation opportunities for each partner and their communities.
For many years, UTHealth Houston students have pursued practicums with DCHHS. Through the Academic Health Department initiative, a practicum-to-employment pipeline will be developed, connecting students and graduates to professional opportunities while guaranteeing a steady supply of skilled, experienced workers for the agency. DCHHS employees will be invited into the classroom, sharing expertise and up-to-date practical experience with students across Texas. Our partner will also benefit from closer contact and coordination with faculty on shared research and increased access to funding. Other areas of intersection include communications and messaging, data analysis and interventions, and advising on policy and management. The partnership will also facilitate the exchange and sharing ofresources and information, including data, software, or logistics, extending the capabilities of the organizations and increasing their efficiency.
DCHHS serves a population of over 2.6 million in the second-largest county in Texas. The Academic Health Partnership engages with the School of Public Health and its resources across the state, capitalizing on a network established since its founding in 1967.