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Wingate taps Wolf to explore public health programs

by Luanne Williams

Wingate University has tapped Suzanne Wolf to lead its exploration of baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in public health. The Board of Trustees voted this spring to move ahead with research on the programs, with an eye toward adding them next year.

“Public health is the practice of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. Our students would have the opportunity to study complex health issues while ultimately serving societal need through experiential learning,” Wolf says. “Wingate University is a laboratory of difference making; this program would further empower students to make a meaningful difference in their community and the world.”

An assistant professor in Wingate’s Harris Department of Physician Assistant Studies since 2018, Wolf earned her baccalaureate degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Pace University in New York. She will receive her doctorate from A.T. Still University this December. 

Dr. Laura Happe

The public health programs — an in-person bachelor’s degree and an online master’s are being considered — would not be slated to get underway until the fall of 2021. Regional (SACS-COC) and program-specific accreditation (CEPH) applications are being prepared for submission by Jan. 1, 2021. Laura Happe, who has a master's of public health degree in addition to her doctorate of pharmacy, and Wolf championed the idea of adding the programs with a presentation to colleagues last July. Happe was serving as an associate professor at the time.

“The approval and launch of the Public Health Program would represent a major and complementary addition to the health sciences programs at Wingate,” said Robert Supernaw, interim provost. “We are exploring a plan to offer the master’s in public health as both a stand-alone degree as well as a dual-degree option for students pursuing other professional degrees in healthcare.”

The leader in healthcare education in western North Carolina, Wingate already offers a bachelor’s in nursing, a master’s in physician assistant studies, and doctoral degrees in pharmacy, physical therapy and occupational therapy.

To learn more, reach out to Suzanne Wolf at

June 17, 2020

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