A remarkable time for Arnold School


G. Thomas Chandler

This is a remarkable time in the history of the Arnold School of Public Health.

We have a record enrollment of more than 2,100 students, a number that includes nearly 400 undergraduates in our B.A. and B.S. program in public health. One of the first of its kind in the nation when it was established in 2008, this program is experiencing rapid growth.

Since 2009, Arnold School faculty have garnered more than $119 million in research and other extramural funding.

These grants support research on some of the most serious problems affecting the health of people and the environment. One is focused on stroke recovery, especially for those whose communication skills are limited after they have a stroke. Another is on the dangers of long sleep. Another examines chemicals in food and water that disrupt or mimic our own natural hormones. Other awards support cancer prevention, women's health initiatives, obesity, nutrition, cardiovascular disease and the health of our environment. Some research has international reach. A study on the impact of graphic warning labels to prevent or stop smoking is being done in countries around the world. Our researchers are looking at the problems of food insecurity nationally and internationally, as well as violence against women.

I am proud to report that Dr. Jamie Lead, one of the world's top nanoscience researchers, has been named chair of the Environmental Nanoscience and Risk Assessment Center of Economic Excellence. The center, a collaboration between USC's Arnold School of Public Health and NanoCenter, is part of the SmartState™ Program, established by the S.C. General Assembly with funds from the South Carolina Education Lottery. The SmartState Program matches state monies with private donations to create Centers of Economic Excellence in research areas that will advance South Carolina's economy and the well-being of its citizens.

USC is one of only 63 public universities nationwide listed in the Carnegie Foundation's highest tier of research institutions, and the Arnold School of Public Health is a vital part of this prestigious ranking.

Our service and outreach programs reach children and adults in every corner of South Carolina every day – and also beyond our borders. Dementia Dialogues trains caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease and dementia, and GoodBodies, which serves children and teens, is making progress against obesity among youth. The PASOs program, which has earned national recognition, is working to improve the health of Latino families in the Palmetto State.

While we are proud of our successes, we are also facing some serious challenges. Over the past four years state appropriations to USC have declined more than 50 percent, and we have had to adjust to this new reality. Our programs remain some of the strongest in the nation because our faculty and staff have worked extra hard to find new sources of funding for programs. Our students, and especially our parents of students, have sacrificed hard-earned income to cover some of this shortfall. For that we remain especially grateful. Over the next four years, about one-fourth of the public health workforce will retire. Our faculty are working to ensure that we educate public health professionals who can meet the challenges of the 21st century. The S.C. Public Health Training Center is a $3.2 million effort to develop the necessary infrastructure for the state's public health work force and ensure equal access to training resources for rural, underserved populations.

The Arnold School is dedicated to improving the health of people, communities, and the environment, and our success is told through the achievements of our alumni, faculty, staff, students, and donors. We appreciate all of you! Let us hear how we're doing!

More information about the Arnold School

Columbia, SC 29208 • 803-777-7000 • sphweb@mailbox.sc.edu