WMU News

Senior CDC official joins Health and Human Services faculty

Nov. 6, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- A former senior epidemiologist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has become a founding faculty member in Western Michigan University's doctoral program in interdisciplinary health studies.

Dr. Kieran Fogarty was lured away from the CDC because, as he puts it, he liked the use of interdisciplinary health studies to address the major health issues facing the nation today. Fogarty thinks WMU's new program, part of the College of Health and Human Services, has the potential to become a national center for interdisciplinary health studies, health care policy development, and providing leadership to the new and exciting field of study.

Fogarty's five-year tenure at the CDC included a two-year stint in the elite EIS--Epidemic Intelligence Service--made up of the celebrated disease detectives who investigate disease outbreaks around the world. While with the CDC, Fogarty was assigned to the World Health Organization in Bangladesh as part of the first international team to attempt the eradication of polio on a global scale.

"Lessons learned in the field convinced me of the need for a doctoral level program which addresses and encourages the utilization of various disciplines in problem solving and in developing solutions to our most pressing health care needs," Fogarty says.

The Ph.D. in interdisciplinary health studies is the first doctoral program in the history of the College of Health and Human Services and is designed to educate already skilled and experienced professionals who are interested in accentuating their careers through further study. Fogarty's knowledge of health issues on a national and global level will help these students take their work further than ever, according to Dr. James Leja, interim program director and associate dean for graduate studies in the college.

"Dr. Fogarty brings the connections and knowledge we need to begin a program such as ours," Leja says. "If we want to have a national presence, we need academic leaders with national experience. We have this with Kieran."

Among Fogarty's hopes for the program is that it can form important alliances within and outside Michigan and that its graduates will have a wider view of health care issues and contribute to problem solving and developing solutions for the pressing health care problems facing society today.

"While I did expect this caliber of support from colleagues, I had not expected the overwhelming support from the community," Fogarty says. "I think the community sees this program as one that will not only serve our students and the people in this region, but also will meet the needs of the emerging healthcare issues in Michigan and the nation."

For more information, contact James Leja at (269) 387-2645.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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