Public Health History

History of Public Health in Nebraska

  • In 1997, local public health departments in Nebraska served only 18 of the state's 93 counties.
  • In 1998, investments from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Turning Point Initiative provided resources for Nebraska to develop a public health improvement plan (Turning Point: Nebraska's Plan to Strengthen and Transform Public Health)
  • Having a public health improvement plan enabled Nebraska to successfully advocate for funding for public health infrastructure from state tobacco settlement funds. When the state legislature passed the Nebraska Health Care Funding Act in 2001, it appropriated $5.7 million annually to establish regional public health departments throughout the state.
  • In response to these changes, UNMC and the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), with support from the Nebraska Minority Public Health Association, established a Master of Public Health (MPH) Program and admitted it first student in 2002.  The MPH program secured accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) in 2004.
  • By 2004, 16 regional public health departments covered every county in the state, providing the core functions of public health.
  • In 2006, the state of Nebraska appropriated $1.8 million annually to support the regional public health departments.
  • The success of the MPH Program and the recognition by Nebraska leadership of the importance of public health training and scholarship led the NU Board of Regents to establish the College of Public Health (College) at UNMC in 2007 and it secured accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) in 2011.
    (Information obtained from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and UNMC, College of Public Health Accreditation Self Study Document).