May 16, 2012

Jane Clark Will Co-Direct Major 'MPowering' Collaboration

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Long-time kinesiology faculty member Jane Clark will serve as the new dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Health for a two-year term beginning July 1.

Clark will succeed founding Dean Robert Gold, and will be charged with leading the school into a new collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore - effectively doubling the size of their respective Masters of Public Health programs.

"Working together, we can significantly improve our ability to educate public health professionals to meet the State's dramatic and growing need," says Clark, who in the past has headed College Park's Department of Kinesiology.

"Our challenge is to take two great units, retain their unique characters and independence, and forge a new union," she adds. "Our two programs are complementary, and this collaboration will make our offerings, expertise and capacity far stronger. We have a real opportunity here, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in Baltimore."

In March, the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) and University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) - at the direction of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents - created the framework for greater collaboration between the two institutions: University of Maryland MPowering the State.

One of its first projects is launching a Collaborative School of Public Health with joint oversight, built around each institution's Masters in Public Health (MPH) program. Baltimore's is based in the Medical School's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. College Park's is housed in its School of Public Health.

"We are delighted that Jane Clark has agreed to guide one of the most important initiatives at this University - the development of a Collaborative School of Public Health, one with an enhanced capability of meeting the needs of the State and each institution's students," says UMD President Wallace Loh. "This appointment is a measure of our respect and confidence in Jane's academic and administrative capabilities."

"Jane is a highly respected campus citizen who brings integrity, energy, and commitment to this position along with the skills and desire to build a strong working relationship with UMB," adds College Park's Senior Vice President and Provost Ann Wylie. "I ask that you provide her with the support she will need to guide the school over the next two years."

Launching in 2007 in College Park, the University of Maryland School of Public Health is the only Mid-Atlantic public institution of its kind from North Carolina to New Jersey.

"Our identity as a public school of public health is vital to our mission," Clark says. "It reflects our commitment to affordability and accessibility, and keeps us focused on our goals of professional workforce development, health equity, health promotion and disease prevention."

In 2010, UMD's School of Public Health joined a consortium dedicated to meeting Maryland's growing need for health professionals in medically under-served urban and rural communities. Currently, 137 areas in Maryland are listed as having a shortage of health professionals.

Another major priority for Clark will be the accreditation of the new Collaborative School of Public Health, a complex, multi-year process.

In the five years since its launch, under the direction of current Dean Robert Gold, Clark says the School's growth has been "astronomical. You can measure our progress as you would the speed of light. Fast! Very fast!"

The number of departments in the School has doubled and several new research centers have been created, including the Centers for Disease Control-funded Prevention Research Center, the Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy and the new Maryland Center for Health Equity.

"Bob Gold's leadership and vision has made this tremendous growth possible and he is greatly honored for his contribution to the State's long-term health and the university's academic excellence," Wylie notes. "With Jane at the helm, we will continue to have experienced leadership to launch the School into this new phase of its growth."

SHORT BIO

Clark currently serves as a professor in the UMD School of Public Health. She was chair of the Department of Kinesiology for ten years, and has received national recognition for her research and service.

Her research has focused on development of motor skills in young children, with a special focus on those with movement difficulties. Her passion is to help children achieve the competence and confidence to be physically active throughout their lives.

Clark has edited seven books, written 25 book chapters, published more than 70 peer-reviewed papers, and presented hundreds of professional papers. Currently, she is on the editorial board of Research in Developmental Disabilities, serves as associate editor of the Journal of Motor Learning and Development and is the founding editor of Kinesiology Review.