I write to inform you of several important leadership transitions in our school.
Dr. Steve Albert will be stepping down as chair of the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences on June 1st. Dr. Albert has served the Department and the School as Chair since 2011 and has played a major role in developing the department’s research, educational, and practice initiatives focused on improving and promoting health and equity by engaging individuals, communities, and systems. These include cutting-edge research addressing social determinants and social dynamics of health. Under his leadership the MPH, doctoral programs, and joint degree programs have thrived. The department’s practice focus has also grown under Dr. Albert’s leadership, including critical work in violence prevention and program evaluation. He successfully recruited key junior faculty and built a department primed for further success.
Dr. Albert is leaving the chair position to lead two high school-wide priorities: collaborating with the UPMC Health Plan and developing the Academic health Department. He will also pursue a Fulbright fellowship opportunity in Japan in 2022. A search for a new chair of BCHS will begin immediately. I have asked Dr. Velpandi Ayyavoo to serve as interim chair. Dr. Ayyavoo’s significant experience as associate dean for research and her experience managing IDM’s graduate programs make her an outstanding choice for this position. She will work in close collaboration with the BCHS vice chairs to continue to develop the department during the transition period.
Dr. Eleanor Feingold will serve as our vice dean commensurate to the breadth and responsibility of her portfolio. She has most recently been named an American Council on Education Fellow, and will spend the 2021-22 academic year immersing herself in academic leadership training outside of our school and university. Dr. Feingold will step aside from most of her GSPH responsibilities during this period, including her role as interim chair of the Department of Human Genetics and her role as vice dean. Starting August 1st, 2021, Dr. Daniel Weeks will serve as interim chair during Dr. Feingold’s absence, and Dr. Jessica Burke will serve as acting vice dean for the school during Dr. Feingold’s absence.
Many of our current associate deans serve in changing or multiple roles. This provides us an opportunity for additional faculty with an interest in leadership to get involved. I plan to post position descriptions by the end of April for all associate dean positions. Applications will be due May 15th for current GSPH faculty who are interested in serving as associate deans and helping guide the school as we move forward on many new initiatives.
I am also very pleased to share that we are fortunate to retain our associate dean for finance and administration, Renae Brinza. Her extensive expertise in budget- and organizational management is pivotal as a new budget model is introduced and we implement key priorities.
Together, our future is bright!