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Addressing African community health

Sept. 10, 2007
By Anita Martin

Matthew Adeyanju knows well the urgency for better community health services in Africa: epidemic levels of HIV-AIDS, malaria and other diseases, and long lines of patients outside poorly resourced clinics.

How to enroll

There's still time to enroll in the African Community Health Graduate Certificate this fall. The last day to add a fall quarter class without an instructor's permission is Tuesday, Sept. 11, and the last day to add with permission is Tuesday, Sept. 18.

Students may be admitted to the program in winter quarter as well.

For application and enrollment information, contact Matthew Adeyanju, adeyanju@ohio.edu or 740-593-1849, or stop by his office Grover Center E317a.

"These problems affect all social and political aspects of life in Africa," said Adeyanju, originally from Nigeria and director of Ohio University's School of Health Sciences since 2001. "Some of the graduate students in communications programs, for example, go to Africa to help nonprofit organizations. They produce TV or radio programs where they're always talking about health issues. They always come back and tell me, 'I don't know much about health. How can I learn more?'"

That's why the School of Health Sciences and the College of Health and Human Services launched a new African Community Health graduate certificate this year. The program will educate graduate students about political and economic issues in African health care, disease prevention, environmental sanitation and the use of communication to promote the development of community health services.

The program accepts students in two categories: those admitted to an advanced-degree program at Ohio University and those who possess a bachelor's or advanced degree but are not currently enrolled in a degree program. The program particularly complements graduate studies in the Center for International Studies and School of Communication Studies.

Adeyanju and others involved in the program's creation know it to be unique -- perhaps the first of its kind in the United States -- because they could find no others to serve as a model for it.

According to Adeyanju, many of the most serious and common ailments in Africa are largely preventable with the right education and support.

"There are two kinds of health care: the clinical kind and the preventative kind. Everything about this program is prevention," he said. "Prevention is a very broad, very holistic area, which includes social workers, nutritionists, statisticians, sanitation inspectors and policy-makers."

To develop this program, the School of Health Sciences has collaborated with other university units, including the Institute for the African Child, the African Studies Program, the Center for International Studies, the School of Communications Studies and the Tropical Disease Institute. Several of the certificate courses meet existing degree requirements for graduate programs within these units.

"This certificate program is also intended for health, health-related or socio-behavioral professionals who may have clinical skills or experience  ... but lack the basic community health skills of insight into community health organizations and development," said Gary Neiman, dean of the College of Heath and Human Services.

According to Neiman, the African Community Health certificate fits perfectly into Ohio University's nationally recognized commitment to African studies and its foundational goals of outreach and community service.

"Ohio University was established in 1804 to help meet the higher education needs of the underserved as the U.S. population migrated westward," he said. "We remain true to our historic mission by serving the underserved in rural Appalachia and in other communities, such as those on the African continent. Ohio's African Studies program (within the Center for International Studies) ranks among the top in the country. This certificate program will underscore that commitment."

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Published: Jul 20, 2006 3:50:00 PM
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