Faculty & Staff

Dean named to prominent society

Graduate School of Social Work Dean Ira Colby was inducted into the National Academies of Practice organization earlier this month. He will join other scholars in forums and policy development regarding health care | Steven Oster/The Houstonian

Graduate College of Social Work Dean Ira Colby was recently inducted into the National Academies of Practice as a distinguished scholar, where he will serve on various task forces, aid in writing healthcare policy, and participate in national forums.

NAP is a non-profit organization of respected health professionals who discuss health care issues and advise policy makers.

Colby, who also teaches at the University, said that he looks forward to being able to bring his knowledge and experience to the organization.

“Induction into a national society is an honor and certainly gratifying,” Colby said. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on health issues.”

NAP is composed of ten healthcare academies: dentistry, medicine, nursing, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, podiatric medicine, psychology, social work and veterinary medicine.  Each academy has 150 elected practicing professionals or scholars.

Prospective members must apply or be nominated and then be elected by the NAP council.  Colby was nominated by his colleague, Jerald Strickland.  Strickland serves at UH as assistant vice chancellor for international studies and programs and is a member of NAP.

Strickland said that he nominated Colby for membership with NAP because of Colby’s expertise in social work and his leadership in the interdisciplinary health issues at the local, national and international levels.

“He is a healthcare professional and social work scholar,” Strickland said. “He represents his profession in forums that are interdisciplinary in function.”

Chairman of NAP’s Social Work Academy, Allen Du Mont, said Colby’s work is what made him a perfect member for the organization.

“I was pleased to personally give Dr. Ira Colby his medallion as distinguished scholar,” Du Mont said. “His record of achievement was indeed distinguished and worthy of honor.”

Du Mont said that while Colby currently has no specific duties, he may be invited to speak to legislators or volunteer on committees in the future.

Du Mont said that in 2009, members of NAP gave testimony to Congress along with their patients in support of health care reform. Colby said that the health care reform that is underway is the most urgent of the current social issues.

“While a significant bill was passed, much remains to be done,” Colby said. “We must also insure that mental health parity remains central in these reforms.”

In addition to his emphasis on the importance of keeping mental health fully ingrained in all health reforms, Colby said that he would like to see cost containment for pharmaceutical drugs and health procedures, an increase in the number of community health clinics, development of health wellness programs, promotion of healthy lifestyles in schools and an increase on taxes for cigarettes, alcohol, soft drinks and junk food in order to fund wellness programs.

Colby said that as a member of NAP, he hopes that the policies that he will be involved in creating will allow all people to eventually see a more cost effective, efficient and comprehensive health care program.

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