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Health & Hospitals

Nov. 1 - Georgia Southern improves health in Coastal Georgia through new partnership

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

November 1, 2019 - The Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH) at Georgia Southern University is partnering with the Coastal Health District (CHD) to train future health professionals through the formation of an Academic Health Department (AHD.) 

“The goal of this partnership is to enhance the relationship JPHCOPH already has with the CHD,” said Angie Peden, assistant director of the JPHCOPH’s Center for Public Health Practice and Research. “We want to take what we are doing to connect the college and the district and bring it to the next level. My hope is that the formal partnership of an AHD will help us do just that.”  

An AHD partnership is formed by the formal affiliation of a health department and an academic institution that trains future health professionals. AHD partnerships can enhance public health education and training, research and service, and may offer a variety of benefits, both for the organizations involved and for the community as a whole.

The CHD covers eight counties along the coast of Georgia with two district offices located in Savannah and Brunswick. Under the direction and leadership of Dr. Lawton C. Davis, CHD’s mission is to improve the health of those who live, work and play in the counties by preventing disease, injury and disability, promoting health and wellbeing, and preparing for and responding to disasters.

“We believe that this partnership will not only enable us to support professional development opportunities among our current staff but also help aid in the development of a future public health workforce,” said Davis. “The benefits of partnering with academia will strengthen our efforts around public health education, research and practice.” 

The AHD Steering Committee is working to form a guest lecture exchange and an internship supervisor training program, designed to empower CHD staff to supervise and mentor JPHCOPH student interns.

The mission of JPHCOPH is to improve health, eliminate health disparities and health inequities of rural communities and underserved populations globally through excellence in teaching, public health workforce development, research, scholarship, professional service and community engagement.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving nearly 26,500 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit

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