Parent Page: Alumni id: 33339 Active Page: Fall 2023 Deans Messageid:33374

Message from the Dean, Fall 2023

Bratzler Professional Photo

As a public health professional and medical provider, I am well-versed in the benefits of interdisciplinary work and research. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with numerous professionals in health care, politics, private business, nonprofit, and academic sectors. Each experience reminds me of the importance of teaching our students how to work in interdisciplinary environments and be valuable members of these teams. 

Interdisciplinary Research 

When I heard about the theme for this year’s issue of the Hudson College of Public Health magazine, I decided to look up the official definition. The Oxford English Dictionary defines interdisciplinary as “involving different areas of knowledge or study.” When applied to research, many agree it means combining or involving two or more academic fields. I would take the definition further to say that it involves researchers from different fields working together with a single mission or purpose. In public health, this often takes the form of practitioners working with various medical care professionals (e.g., doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, and dietitians). Yet, due to the broad nature of public health, we also find practitioners working with engineers, architects, city planners, graphic designers and artists, local leaders, nonprofit agencies, political advocates, and many others. You will see some great examples of this in the faculty stories. The reality is that so much of what we do in public health is interdisciplinary that sometimes we may not even realize or think about it. For some, it’s very apparent that their research is interdisciplinary, but for others, it may be less noticeable. When you search for it, you realize that interdisciplinary research touches almost every part of academia. I might even say that it’s at the heart of academia itself. 

In each of the faculty stories, you will read about the variety of ways our public health faculty members are conducting interdisciplinary research. Each one was asked what interdisciplinary meant to them, and while the answers were similar, they were also unique. The term appears to have a slightly different definition depending on whom you ask. Perhaps that’s the nature of our work; it’s constantly shifting and changing based on its components and aims. I imagine it like a Venn diagram with multiple-colored circles overlapping. Each sector interacts with the others in different ways, resulting in an array of colors. That’s interdisciplinary research; it’s a work of art in real time. 

This type of research requires us to think outside of our fields and realms of knowledge. It opens our minds to new methodologies, areas of research, and so much more. I am extremely proud to highlight our faculty and the incredible interdisciplinary research at the Hudson College of Public Health. I’m also grateful for the talented graphic design students on the Norman campus who designed and laid out this magazine. I am inspired by their artistic vision and representation of public health topics and issues. 

A Word of Thanks 

I want to thank our amazing students, faculty and staff, leadership, and donors for making the Hudson College of Public Health an exemplary educational and research institution. With the generosity of current and past donors, we are cultivating the next generation of public health professionals. As we look to the future, our college is committed to providing and expanding learning opportunities and online courses and degrees to students in Oklahoma and across the world. Thank you for supporting us and committing to improving health through public health education, workforce development, research, service, and advocacy.

Bratzler Signature

Dale W. Bratzler, D.O., M.P.H.,
Dean of the Hudson College of Public Health