Pictured (left to right) are former New Jersey Gov. James Florio, Sarah Kelly, president of the NJPHA, and Dr. James Brown
Dr. James Brown, a Kean Ocean professor, was honored with the New Jersey Public Health Association (NJPHA) President’s Award, at the organization’s annual awards ceremony, held on December 11 at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J. The NJPHA, an affiliate of the American Public Health Association, is one of the nation’s oldest voluntary, nonprofit organizations founded to advance and support the cause of public health of all people.
Brown received the nod for his pioneering work developing an online course, Introduction to Public Health, which provides students with a convenient and engaging entryway into this critical, interdisciplinary profession. The course is now available free of charge to all 19 community colleges in New Jersey.
I really appreciate Jim's efforts in creating this online public health program. Public health has an impact on all areas of our lives – clean water, clean air, vaccination programs, seat belt laws and health screenings, just to name a few. If we can get more and more students exposed to what public health does, these students can have a better understanding of how public health impacts their lives. A great way to do this is by having an online course that all undergraduate students can take. This format is unique in reaching the most students at once. - Sarah Kelly, president of the NJPHA
Later that day, Brown also emceed the organization’s annual conference, which focused on this year’s theme, Affordable Care Act: Impact & Implications. Other speakers included former New Jersey Gov. James Florio, whom Brown introduced. Among those in attendance were 23 of Brown’s students – a fact that was not lost on Kelly.
“Jim has been enthusiastic in getting his students involved in our activities,” said Kelly. “It has been great working with him during this past year at NJPHA.”
This past summer, Kelly and Sarah Simpson, secretary of the NJPHA, joined Brown and his students as they toured Tent City, a modern Hooverville in the Pine Barrens of Lakewood, N.J. The large community is comprised of approximately 60 to 70 homeless people, who live in tents and use wood burning stoves to heat their tents during the winter.
In addition to the award from the NJPHA, Introduction to Public Health also recently earned Brown an honorable mention in the national SoftChalk 2012 Lesson Challenge. He was also designated as an Innovator in Online Learning by SoftChalk, which features “people doing great things” in their online courses. In addition, Brown was recently featured in NJBIZ magazine, in an article titled Kean Professor Adapts Public Health Course for State.
Known by some as “The Godfather of Online Sciences” – a takeoff on his famous name – Brown has been credited by many with revolutionizing the ways in which science is delivered to students. Due to his efforts, students throughout the world are now able to take laboratory-based science courses such as microbiology, in circumstances that do not lend themselves to traditional face-to-face instruction.