|Board of Trustees approves two new department chairs in the School of Public Health|
|August 23, 2006|
The University of North Carolina Board of Trustees has approved
the appointment of two academic chairs in the School of Public Health,
both of whom are long-term, internationally renowned faculty members at
UNC. Andrew F. Olshan, PhD, will lead the department
of epidemiology, and Michael D. Aitken, PhD, will direct the department
environmental sciences and engineering. Both
appointments are effective September 1, 2006.
Andy Olshan to chair
Department of Epidemiology
Olshan, professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health and research professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery in the School of Medicine, received his master's and doctoral degrees in epidemiology at the University of Washington. He joined the UNC faculty in 1991 as an assistant professor. The following year, he became a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and a fellow at the Carolina Population Center. He became a tenured associate professor in 1996 and professor in 2001.
"Andy Olshan is an internationally recognized scholar whose work is both broad and deep," said Dean Barbara K. Rimer. "His research on childhood and head and neck cancers is especially noteworthy. He is more than a scholar, however. He is recognized for his service within UNC and at the national level and is appreciated as an outstanding mentor both to students and faculty. He is committed to the full range of scientific inquiry being pursued in the department and to goals of increased diversity among faculty and students. I'm so pleased that he accepted the position, and I am confident that he will continue the long tradition of excellence that former chairs, including Drs. [Barbara] Hulka and [David] Savitz, exemplified."
Olshan said it was an honor to become chair of one of the leading epidemiology departments in the world. "I look forward to working with the department's outstanding faculty, staff and students," he said, "not only to maintain, but to expand in new directions the Department's leadership in research, teaching and service."
He succeeds David Savitz, PhD, who left UNC at the end of
December 2005 to become the first director of the Center
of Excellence in Epidemiology,
Biostatistics and Disease Prevention at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
in New York City. Dana Loomis, PhD, professor in the
department, has served as interim chair since January.
Michael Aitken to
Aitken, professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering and director of the department's Environmental Engineering Program, received his doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1988. After having joined the School's faculty as an instructor in 1987, Aitken became assistant professor in 1988, associate professor in 1995 and professor in 2000. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a consulting environmental engineer at Malcolm Pirnie, a major international environmental engineering company.
Dean Barbara K. Rimer commended Aitken for the wealth of experience he brings to his role as chair. "Dr. Aitken's work as a consultant not only will continue to inform his own research but will allow him also to provide practical advice to graduate students," she said. "He has the academic excellence, vision and interpersonal skills to provide effective leadership for this internationally recognized academic program with a long history of excellence."
Ivan Rusyn, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the department, agrees. "I am very pleased to learn that Professor Aitken accepted the position of chair," Rusyn said, "and I am confident that he will be welcomed by all faculty, staff and students. He is a person who will best preserve the strengths of this outstanding department and further the interdisciplinary nature of our academic and research mission."
The UNC School of Public Health's Department of
Environmental Sciences and Engineering Department is ranked the nation's
seventh best graduate program for environmental/environmental health by U.S.
News & World Report magazine for its 2007 edition of "American's Best
Aitken is excited about the opportunity to help the
department move into the future. "Our challenge," he said, "will
be to evolve while sustaining our reputation for excellence." Praising
the varied interests of the faculty and student body, he noted that
"multi-disciplinarity is our strength. It will help
the department adapt as funding priorities shift and, as new research
challenges and opportunities emerge, it will allow us to make unique
contributions to knowledge and to society. It also will help prepare
our graduates for a more complex world. I look forward to exploring new
ways of engaging students in fulfilling our research and education
A list of leaders of the School's eight academic units can be found at: www.sph.unc.edu/school/academic_chairs.html.
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For more information, contact Ramona DuBose at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-966-7467.
|Last updated March 09, 2008|