ASPH Distance Education Council Meeting
Sunday, December 11, 2005
10:00 to 11:30 AM
Liberty Room A
Ten Avenue of the Arts, Ritz Carlton Hotel
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Members present: Edyth Schoenrich (JHU)
Cheryl Addy (South Carolina) Sandhya Srinivasan (USF)
Lindsey Bruso (UIC) Iris Smith (Emory)
Peter Budetti (Oklahoma) Lillian Smith (South Carolina)
Dianne Butler (Loma Linda) Mary Ann Smith (Texas-Houston)
Ann Cary (U Mass) Matt Wilcox (Yale)
Robert J. Caswell (OSU) Mary Wolf (Texas A&M)
Annette Choolfaiian (NYU) Carol Young (Albany)
Brenda Elledge (Oklahoma)
Elizabeth Fontham (LA State) Guests:
Bernadette Gloeb (Minnesota)
Sukon Kanchanaraksa (JHU) ASPH:
Kathleen Kiser (UCLA) Gillian Silver
David Potenziani (UNC) Rita Kelliher
Sandra Quinn (Pittsburgh)
I. Welcome and Approval of Minutes
- Distance Education Council chair David Potenziani (UNC) welcomed members and
invited participants to introduce themselves. The agenda for the present meeting and
the minutes of the November 7, 2004 council meeting at the Westin St. Francis Hotel
in Washington, DC, were both approved.
II. Report on the NLM-supported ASPH Distance Learning Website Improvement
ASPH staffer Gillian Silver reported on ASPH’s efforts to improve ASPH’s SPH distance
learning web pages. As of this meeting, there were19 responses by SPH.
- Council members suggested removing the tuition variable from the web page, and to
permit the SPH's to provide that directly on their individual sites, so it would be less
likely to be out of date or inaccurate.
- Each school will provide a URL that links to its distance learning program: if all
schools can’t do this, the idea will need to be reconsidered.
- Each school will list contact person(s) for distance learning programs.
- Distance Learning certificates could be added to the matrix (in addition to degree
- The SPH distance learning program matrix was recognized as a very popular
document, and especially useful for Tulane and LSU students post-Hurricane Katrina.
The matrix will be published twice per year for distribution at the APHA and
ASTHO/NACCHO annual meetings. However, updates to the website information
will appear immediately. In order to publish this information as a matrix on the
website, ASPH will need each SPH dean’s approval. Council members asked that the
document’s title should be changed to note that it includes master’s and doctoral
programs, and that a note should be added that additional distance learning
opportunities from the SPH can be found on the SPH’s websites. Similar to above,
tuition information should be deleted, and the credit hours should note the difference
between quarter and system hours.
[ACTION ITEM: ASPH will complete collecting information to inform improvements to the
ASPH distance learning web pages.]
[ACTION ITEM: ASPH will make it so the distance learning program matrix can be easily
[ACTION ITEM: ASPH will contact the SPH deans to request permission to post the distance
learning program matrix on the ASPH website.]
III. Proposed Overview of Distance Learning Programs in Schools of Public Health
- David Potenziani proposed constructing a detailed survey of SPH distance learning
programs, in order to provide the council with information on what’s out there, as
well as a basis for assistance and further program development, guidance on best
practices, and work towards defining the continually evolving “ideal program.”
Council member consensus is that having such information will help SPH obtain
additional resources for distance learning.
- Council members discussed including variables such as distance learning program
staffing and faculty effort, types of technology, resource allocation, size of program,
student demographics, disability accessibility issues, international access and use, and
the program’s future plans.
- As part of defining the ideal, a council member suggested developing a how-to
manual. It was further suggested to look into the relationship between the SPH
capability and what is needed for the public health workforce at the local, state and
federal levels (e.g., see results of NACCHO’s technology survey).
[ACTION ITEM: Dr. Potenziani will seek Council input on the survey instrument before sharing
it with the ASPH data committee, fielding the survey, and sharing preliminary findings before
the next annual meeting.]
IV. Possible Special Issue of Public Health Reports on Public Health Informatics
- Public Health Reports (PHR) is considering publishing a special issue on public
health informatics (March/April 2007). However, it was to be edited by Patrick
Sullivan, and he has been tapped to edit a similar issue for the Journal of Biometric
Informatics, so PHR is postponing its issue. Dr. Rinsky, PHR editor, does not want
the issue to be bifurcated into technology versus practice, but Council members
encouraged him to still publish the special issue.
- Art Lawrence in the office of the secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and
Draft by Gillian Silver, January 11, 2006
Human Services is interested in informatics.
- Dr. Rinsky shared information about proposed PHR author chats for students, and
council members provided feedback.
- PHR is now available online from the beginning issue in 1878. A new book by
ASPH/PHR of seminal historical articles is now available, and will be printed as a
300 page supplement to PHR. An audio CD of public health chronicles is also
V. Discussion on non-accredited on-line public health degree programs
- The Council on Education for Public Health has added to its guidelines additional
scrutiny for online programs from schools or programs seeking accreditation. The
Council discussed the importance to schools and programs overall of branding and
raising consumers’ awareness of accreditation, with the CEPH accreditation logo for
website as one step, and looks to CEPH and ASPH to lead this effort. A council
member recognized that neither NACCHO nor ASTHO are strong proponents of
public health degrees in general. Despite this, the council suggested reaching out to
ASTHO, NACCHO and NALBOH.
- To educate employers, a council member suggested including language in federal and
state public health agency job descriptions that when degrees are required, that their
being from accredited schools and programs is preferred.
VI. FYI: ASPH Case Studies Resource Center
- ASPH staff announced the new ASPH web-based case studies resource center, and
encouraged faculty to register on the site, populate it with additional materials, and
encourage other faculty at their SPH to do so as well. This resource center was
developed under the ASPH Education Committee.
- It was suggested that ASPH put out a call for cross-cutting case studies in the core
disciplines for practitioners.
- The council suggested that ASPH look into the question of copyrighting the case
study materials (the Indiana University website may have a resource on this). It was
also suggested that ASPH look into password protected access, and other potential
- The council suggested that, to motivate faculty, ASPH look into faculty peer review
of the case studies, so that the studies will count as publications for faculty tenure and
VII. DL Council Communications
- Dr. Potenziani asked the council if it wanted to communicate in-between annual
meetings and, if so, how, and how often. Suggested communication methods were
ASPH discussions forums with limited notification of items posted, and/or a 6-month
(semi-annual) update of major issues and action items progress reports (the council
thought the latter would be relevant/important for all councils).
- The council asked that relevant action items be shared with the Associate Deans.
Draft by Gillian Silver, January 11, 2006