Dean Peck and Her Colleagues

At the end of the day, what counts in public health is the measurable positive difference we make together for the health and well-being of populations and communities. The Zilber School of Public Health strives to combine three essential approaches in our academic work for the public's health: trustworthy community engagement, collaborative leadership, and social innovation. Faculty, staff and students aim to be great partners for public health research, education and service in greater Milwaukee and beyond.

UWM's Zilber School reaches important milestone on road to accreditation

The Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has reached an important milestone in its efforts to become the first accredited school of public health in Wisconsin. The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the nationally recognized accrediting body for schools of public health, informed the school June 25 that it is approved to formally begin the accreditation process, which may take up to two years to complete.

“This opportunity to become the state’s first nationally accredited school of public health, possibly as early as fall 2016, is thrilling,” said Magda Peck, founding dean of the Zilber School. “We have a great deal of work in front of us before the process is complete, but this is an important step in realizing a dream that so many have held for so long. Among the Zilber School’s goals in its work ahead is to expand and ensure innovative education and research programs, and strong community engagement.”

State officials approved the opening of the school in 2009, following three years of effort by local and university officials. Many UWM faculty and community partners participated in creating the foundation of what the Zilber School is today. The City of Milwaukee has been a long-time advocate. "I am proud to have been a champion for a school of public health in Milwaukee since day one," said Mayor Tom Barrett. "Thanks to the dynamic leadership of Dean Peck and a great faculty, the Zilber School has taken a big step toward becoming the first accredited school of public health in the state. We should all see the school as an asset not only for our city and state, but our entire region as well."

“Zilber School of Public Health faculty and staff members have been working extremely hard to prepare the groundwork for the accreditation process,” said Mark Mone, interim chancellor of UWM.  “New programs and tracks are up and running, the first graduates have already completed degrees and joined the workforce, and faculty members are receiving national attention for their research. We are excited about this important step in moving toward accreditation.”

Accreditation is a rigorous process, giving schools of public health the opportunity to reflect on how they can best serve their stakeholders through instruction, research and service. Accreditation ensures that schools meet certain standards of quality and excellence. Schools are reviewed by their peers during extensive site visits. There are now 52 CEPH accredited schools in the world.

Imprisonment from a public health perspective

By Kathy Quirk of UWM News, June 17, 2014

In Milwaukee County, more than half of African-American men in their 30s have served time in state prison. Researchers say this pattern of black male incarceration tracks historical lines of racial and class segregation in the city.

Now a team of UWM scholars is focusing on the ways in which this mass incarceration contributes to health inequities.

Their project, “Transforming Justice: Rethinking the Politics of Security, Mass Incarceration, and Community Health,” is funded by one of two 2014-15 Transdisciplinary Challenge grants through the Center for 21st Century Studies (C21).

“We want to look at that issue from a public health perspective…how mass incarceration is disrupting families and social ties within the neighborhoods,” says Jenna Loyd, assistant professor of public health policy and administration in the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health. “We want to look at the geography and history. How is mass incarceration in Milwaukee tied to racism? What are the different impacts on men and women?”

Other members of the interdisciplinary team include Lorraine Halinka Malcoe, associate professor of epidemiology in the Zilber School; Robert S. Smith, associate professor of history; Anne Bonds, assistant professor of geography; and Jenny Plevin, program director of doc|UWM in the Peck School of the Arts… Read full article

$400,000 Zilber gift establishes public health scholarships at UWM

By UWM News on May 9, 2014

The Zilber Family Foundation is making a $400,000 gift to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health to establish the Vera Zilber Public Health Scholars program. Over the next four years, the gift will provide up to 16 doctoral and 48 master’s scholarships through this program.

“This is the largest scholarship gift the Zilber School has received,” said Magda Peck, founding dean. “It will have a transformational impact on students and on the future of the school.”

The gift will help recruit and retain students in the three newest master of public health tracks, whose fall 2014 launch recently was announced in the key areas of biostatistics, epidemiology and public health policy and administration, said Peck. (See for more information on the new tracks).

“This gift signifies our great confidence in Dean Peck and her efforts to create an outstanding new school with talented students and faculty,” said Susan Lloyd, president of the Zilber Family Foundation. “Our community needs a school that will be a catalyst for healthier communities through the education of well-prepared public health leader-practitioners.”

The merit-based scholarships will average $5,000 per year for master’s degree students and $10,000 per year for Ph.D. students.

“Supporting full-time students can accelerate their path to graduation and entering the workforce,” said Peck. “This gift also supports our becoming Wisconsin’s first nationally accredited school of public health.”

The late Joseph J. Zilber, founder of the Zilber Family Foundation, was born and raised in Milwaukee. He and his wife, Vera, who inspired him in his philanthropic efforts, lived and raised their children here. Among many civic contributions, he was instrumental in founding UWM’s School of Public Health, which now bears his name.

Milwaukee Denim Day

Sexual assault is a public health issue. One in four women have survived a rape or attempted rape. One in five college students have a history of sexual assault. There are known preventable factors and conditions that increase risk. Most assaults involve alcohol or drugs; most perpetrators are known to assault survivors. The consequences are profound and lasting: increased risk for depression, PTSD, suicide. Yet most survivors never tell. Nationally only one in ten sexual assault incidents are reported. Secrecy, silence and shame perpetuate survivors' stigma of sexual assault.

UWM and the Zilber School are a proud sponsors of Milwaukee Denim Day 2014 on April 23. Public health has been defined as fulfilling society's interest in assuring conditions in which people can be healthy (IOM, 1988).
It is in society's interest to create conditions for every woman at every age and stage to be safe from sexual assault though heightened awareness and education, prevention and treatment. Dean Magda Peck is this year's co-chair, with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, to highlight the scope of the problem on college campuses.

Public health also has been defined as "successive redefinings of the unacceptable." (Vickers, 1958). May we declare with fullest words and deeds on this Denim Day 2014, that sexual assault is unequivocally unacceptable.

For more information about local organizations and individuals supporting Denim Day Milwaukee, visit