Two University of Arkansas Public Health Majors Named Stead Scholars

Libby James and Lauren Loften
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Libby James and Lauren Loften

Two University of Arkansas students have been named Stead Scholars and will spend this summer learning about public health at the Arkansas Department of Health and the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health.

Lauren Loften and Libby James, both public health majors at the U of A, will work with a mentor on a specific public health project through the program. They'll interact with public health professionals regarding clinical practice and health policy development. The two students will also attend seminars and meetings at the ADH and the COPH, and present a final project at the end of the eight-week program.

Loften and James will also participate in the state's Public Health Rounds series of webcasts. Health Rounds have been cancelled at the ADH for now due to a drain on resources related to COVID-19. 

"The public health faculty are very proud of our students," said Bart Hammig, a public health professor in the College of Education and Health Professions. "Particularly at this point in time with the COVID-19 pandemic, they'll gain useful and practical experience in public health."

Loften, an Honors College freshman, is seeking a minor in Political Science. She's particularly interested in public health policy.

"The Stead Scholars Mentorship program is an incredible opportunity for me to experience working in public health," she said. "I look forward to conducting research that will serve my state with a mentor who can help me navigate my career path."

James, also an Honors College student in the public health department, added, "It's truly an honor to be chosen as a Stead Scholar. I look forward to learning more about how our state tackles public health concerns and specific issues the Natural State is dealing with."

The program is named for Dr. William "Bill" Stead. Stead was an internationally-recognized physician, scientist, educator and humanitarian, who served as the Tuberculosis Control Officer for 26 years at the ADH until his retirement in 1998. He's credited for developing innovative measures in tuberculosis treatment.

The U of A's Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree recently became one of the first in the nation to be accredited as a stand-alone baccalaureate program.  It's one of the fastest-growing undergraduate degrees in the College of Education and Health Professions, with over 300 students currently declaring the major.

The program — in the Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation at the U of A — earned accreditation status in 2019 from the Council on Education for Public Health, the accrediting body for the discipline of public health. 

About the College of Education and Health Professions: The College of Education and Health Professions offers advanced academic degrees as well as professional development opportunities and learning communities in service to the education and health systems of Arkansas and beyond. The college provides the education and experiences for a variety of professional roles, ranging from community mental health counselors to school teachers and leaders. Programs in adult and higher education, along with educational technology and sport management, offer a broad range of options. In addition to education-related opportunities, the college prepares nurses, speech-language pathologists, health educators and administrators, recreation professionals, rehabilitation counselors and human performance researchers.


Shannon Magsam, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions


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