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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

​Center for Minority Health Receives Gift to Support Graduates Taking Public Health Certification Exam

PITTSBURGH, November 1, 2007 An anonymous donor has contributed $1,500 to the Center for Minority Health (CMH) at the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) to provide scholarships to students and graduates taking the public health certification exam.

We are in the middle of a million-dollar fund-raising campaign to support health disparity research and we have earmarked these funds to be used for scholarship money to pay for five GSPH students and graduates to take the exam, said Stephen B. Thomas, Ph.D., CMH director and Philip Hallen Professor of Community Health and Social Justice at GSPH. The aim is to identify eligible candidates and disburse the funds by Nov. 9 in order to take advantage of the early registration reduced fee.

Administered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners, the exam is designed to increase recognition of the public health professions and raise the visibility of public health as well as measure and improve the competency and consistency of public health workers nationwide.

A nationally recognized credential in public health is essential for the profession and we must ensure that exam fees do not pose a barrier to anyone eligible for the exam, especially racial and ethnic minorities, said Dr. Thomas.

Efforts to increase the number of public health professionals from under-represented minorities is critical to addressing the issue of health disparities in our nation. The Sullivan Commission Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Diversity at Pitt recommended the Schools of the Health Sciences develop innovative opportunities to increase the number of under-represented minorities in public health and other health professions. The Task Force reported several studies had demonstrated that the percentages of minorities in the public health workforce are far lower than desirable.

This gift will be a terrific opportunity to allow a GSPH student or alum from an under-represented minority group to join in the public health workforce with the designation, Certified Public Health, or C.P.H., indicating their competence in essential public health knowledge and skills, said Sandra Quinn, Ph.D., associate professor and GSPH associate dean for student affairs and education and co-leader of the Sullivan Commission Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Diversity at Pitt.

Established in 1994 with a grant from the R.K. Mellon Foundation, CMH is committed to translating evidence-based research into community-based interventions and innovative outreach practices. CMH provides the infrastructure for addressing health issues among ethnic and racial minorities and other vulnerable and underserved populations. For more information, visit the Web site at


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