The American University of Armenia School of Public Health (AUA SPH) renewed its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) (Baltimore, Maryland, USA) for another five years. The affiliation MOU facilitates the collaboration between JHSPH and AUA SPH to sustain, develop, and advance the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program and Center for Health Services Research and Development (CHSR), to facilitate collaborative work in research, education, and training, and to facilitate JHSPH faculty to teach at AUA MPH Program.
Planning for the AUA SPH (previously College of Health Sciences) started in early 1994, leading to its establishment in 1995. The AUA leadership of the time considered establishing an engagement in the medical field and following a review of existing needs it decided to start a program in modern public health that was considered a more critical need. Dr. Haroutune K. Armenian from JHSPH who was working at the time in the earthquake zone in Armenia was asked to lead the planning effort. The planning team included Drs. Myron Allukian, Avedis Donabedian, Dorothy Donabedian, Kim Hekimian, Mihran Nazaretyan, Krikor Soghikian, Ara Tekian, and Michael Thompson.
Dr. Armenian was the Director of Johns Hopkins’ MPH program at the time. As planning for the program progressed via a series of national curricular planning workshops, a formal affiliation with Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health was established.
The agreement provided a broad framework for drawing on Hopkins’ faculty expertise in planning and delivering the curriculum. The initial 5-year formal agreement was signed by AUA President Agbabian and Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Alfred Sommer in 1994, and subsequently twice renewed. Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Michael Klag and AUA President Bruce Boghosian extended the affiliation through 2019.
These first 20 years of collaboration have resulted in several noteworthy achievements: 1) JHSPH faculty have taught and advised AUA MPH students; 2) JHSPH faculty have contributed to the annual AUA MPH curriculum review; 3) JHSPH and AUA SPH jointly have conducted numerous funded research projects; 3) JHSPH and AUA SPH faculty have produced many joint publications in peer-reviewed internationally ranked journals; 5) AUA CHSR researchers received scholarships to attend certificate courses and AUA graduates earned their doctoral degree at JHSPH. The Bloomberg School of Public Health consistently has been ranked #1 among schools of public health according to U.S. News & World Report
This enduring partnership has contributed to the success and quality of the AUA MPH Program. As a recent (2013) external review of the AUA MPH Program noted, “…The content and quality are comparable to the top tier of MPH degrees at universities in the United States.”