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ASTHO and George Mason University Innovate to Improve Public Health Through a New Academic and Practice Collaborative

The ASTHO-Mason Collaborative for Applied Public Health Practice will increase access to public health education and training through student fellowships, innovative curriculum, applied practice and policy research, and academic and continuing education programs for public health students and professionals.

ARLINGTON, VA (Nov. 13, 2019)—Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the George Mason College of Health and Human Services announced the formation of the ASTHO-Mason Collaborative for Applied Public Health Practice, a groundbreaking initiative to prepare the next generation of research and practice leaders in public health. The Collaborative exemplifies the intersection of academia and practice through inter-professional and trans-disciplinary applied research, workforce training, and executive leadership education.

With the creation of the Collaborative, ASTHO and Mason will create innovative academic programs and training for undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree students from various disciplines. In addition, the initiative will help develop the next generation of public health leaders in Virginia and across the country through the Collaborative Scholars program, which will be located at ASTHO’s Arlington, Virginia headquarters.

“Too often research and practice are seen as independent parts of our nation’s public health system,” says Michael Fraser, ASTHO’s chief executive officer and affiliated faculty member. “Bringing ASTHO’s strength in working with state and territorial health leaders, together with George Mason’s excellence in teaching and research, provides a unique chance for our members, students, faculty, and public health partners to innovate and incubate new policy and practice research ideas. Our ultimate end is applying evidence-based leadership, practice, and policy across the public health enterprise.”

“The Collaborative reflects the increasing complexity of global public health and the demand for flexible, lifelong learning pathways for public health practitioners and academics. To truly improve the public’s health, students and professionals need innovative, transdisciplinary curricula. ASTHO is the ideal partner for the College to ensure the preparedness of public health professionals for improving the public’s health,” says Dean of the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University, Germaine Louis, PhD, MS.

“This partnership is innovative, and I’m pleased to see the first of its kind in the state of Virginia,” says Norman Oliver, MD, State Health Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health, and ASTHO board member.

“Here at the Virginia Department of Health, our staff of more than 3,000 people working in 35 locally managed health districts and a central administrative office come from various professional, educational, and employment backgrounds, and their expertise and skills cross a broad spectrum. Our teams work on complex public health projects, programs, and initiatives that are designed to keep Virginians safe and to prepare for emergencies in which public health is put at risk,” Oliver said.

“Education and training are so important for our public health workforce, and I look forward to seeing how this program will help define and prepare our public health leaders,” Oliver says.

The Collaborative builds upon the strengths of both ASTHO and George Mason to ensure that the next generation of public health professionals is prepared to advance health equity and protect and promote health nationwide.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice

About the College of Health and Human Services
George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services prepares students to become leaders and shape the public's health through academic excellence, research of consequence, community outreach, and inter-professional clinical practice. George Mason is the fastest-growing Research I institution in the country. The College enrolls more than 1,900 undergraduate students and 950 graduate students in its nationally-recognized offerings, including: 5 undergraduate degrees, 12 graduate degrees, and 11 certificate programs. The College is transitioning to a college public health in the near future. For more information, visit the George Mason University College of Health and Human Services website.