Former government official to speak about health in politics

Justine Stump

Ed Baker, former assistant surgeon general and current University of North Carolina professor, will be speaking about the role of politics in public health at noon Wednesday in the Moulton Hall Ballroom.

“There are a lot of people that are saying that we don’t need government very much anymore,” Baker said. “I will talk about why it is important to have public health and to have a public health government function.”

Scott Olds, health policy management professor, had the idea to launch the Public Health Speaker Series last year and said he facilitated bringing the speakers to Kent.

Baker will kick off the Public Health Speaker Series for the semester. His speech is titled “Managing the Public Health Enterprise: Preparing the workforce for change.”

“(The series) highlights the opportunity to bring experts to campus, who can share that expertise with not only our students but our faculty and staff and community partners,” Olds said. “Not only on campus, but off campus because we stream the speakers on the web.”

Baker worked with the CDC for 22 years and is now a research professor. Most of his research showcases the importance of developing and investing in the public health infrastructure, according to a press release at

“I’m going to talk about public health and a little bit about some of the political realities that are going on now, that are challenging for public health people.” Baker said. “Particularly the emphasis now on the deficit reduction and the economic downturn that make it harder for public health officials to protect people’s health. That’s one of the major issues.”

Baker is coming to Kent to talk about “what universities can do with their partners that are in health departments around Ohio and elsewhere to provide better public health service.”

If students are unable to attend, the speech will be streamed live at here.

Olds said the college is planning on hosting five speakers over the semester and the next one is slated for November.

Contact Justine Snow at [email protected].