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A History: College of Public Health

College of Public HealthThe college traces its origins to a school of public health that existed on the Norman campus from 1949 to 1953. With the termination of that program, a Department of Preventative Medicine and Public Health, chaired by William Schottstaedt, M.D., was established in the College of Medicine.

As the field of public health evolved, the need for a program dedicated exclusively to training public health practitioners was recognized. In 1965, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recommended the establishment of a school of public health, with the Department of Preventative Medicine and Public Health given responsibility for its organization.

In 1967, the School of Health was launched, with Dr. Schottstaedt as dean and former family residences on 15th Street housing the new school. Very quickly, the new school began accepting students and submitting grants. By 1969, it had received full accreditation.

A total of 122 students were enrolled when the school was officially renamed the College of Health in 1972.

In response to funding issues, the College of Health was merged with the College of Allied Health in 1973. Enrollment in the consolidated college’s public health division continued to grow throughout the 1970s, and successful research programs were established.

In 1981, Public Health and Allied Health once again became separate colleges, with the College of Public Health encompassing the departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Health Administration and Policy, Health Promotion Sciences, and Occupational and Environmental Health. The college has earned national recognition for research of public health issues affecting Native Americans.

The College of Health Building has served the colleges of Allied Health and Public Health since 1978. The building was erected in 1928 to house the College of Medicine.