The University of Texas at San Antonio plans to launch a new college focused on health and public policy in January 2020. Students can enroll in the College for Health, Community, and Policy in fall 2020.

The college will be the new home for all the academic departments from the College of Public Policy and the departments of psychology, sociology, and health, kinesiology, and nutrition. UTSA also plans to develop a new department of public health to house all bachelor’s degrees in health and public health.

The new college will include more than 175 faculty and 6,800 undergraduate and graduate students.

“This is really a restructure, but what we envision is by bringing people together around a common purpose, is that it creates this kind of rubbing of shoulders, working together on some [larger health challenges],” UTSA Provost Kimberly Andrews Espy said.

The school will allow students interested in health careers to more deeply study the social determinants that impact community health like walkability or policy decisions, Espy said.

While no new degree programs are currently in the works, it is likely UTSA will introduce new programs in the future, she said.

The formation of UTSA’s new college came from discussions in the Human Health Initiative task force, a group charged with studying student interests, workforce needs, and research opportunities in the health field. Margo DelliCarpini, the dean of the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, and Melissa Valerio, the regional dean of the UT School of Public Health San Antonio Regional Campus, chaired the task force.

“Aligning our health-related programs within the new college will help current and prospective students navigate their options for pursuing health-related careers and give them a more thorough understanding of the social determinants and other factors that contribute to human health, wellness and well-being,” Espy said in a press release.

UTSA is conducting a national search for the new college’s dean. The university plans to hold a public meeting in November to gather more community feedback. Classes within the new college will take place both at UTSA’s main campus near Loop 1604 and downtown.

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.