Dean's Message - October 2017

University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences Dean Marjorie Aelion

Dean Marjorie Aelion

October 27, 2017

The SPHHS has several exciting events scheduled in November. One is associated with the appointment of Timothy Ford as the Director of the Institute for Global Health (IGH). Dr. Ford joined the School of Public health and Health Sciences (SPHHS) in January 2017 as Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. In this additional position, Dr. Ford follows David Buchanan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Promotion and Policy, who was the founding director of the IGH and has served as its director since 2006. 

Dr. Ford was an Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Harvard University School of Public Health and the founding director of its program in Water and Health. He later was the Program Director for the Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence at Montana State University. Dr. Ford brings with him years of experience conducting research on source and drinking water microbiology, microbial cycling and transformation of pollutants, global environmental health, epidemiology of waterborne diseases, and community based participatory research methods for community engagement. He has both directed and participated in water quality related projects in the US, Canada, the UK, Honduras, Mexico, India, Russia, the Philippines and China. Dr. Ford is the co-chair of the PAHO Foundation technical advisory group. As stated in its mission, PAHO is the specialized international health agency of the Americas committed to ensuring that all people have access to the health care they need, when they need it, with quality and without fear of falling into poverty.

The SPHHS is delighted to co-sponsor with the IGH, Global Health Challenges: A Panel Discussion for Collaborative Solutions, Friday, November 3rd, from 9:30 to 11:15 am followed by a student poster session from 11:30 to 12:30 in the Integrative Learning Center Room S240. It is through his many connections that Dr. Ford will bring to campus three distinguished guests. Dr. Rita Colwell is the former and first woman Director of the National Science Foundation, and a Distinguished University Professor both at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University. Her interests focus on global infectious diseases, water, and health, and she is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world. Dr. Jennie Ward-Robinson is President and CEO of the PAHO Foundation. Dr. Ward-Robinson was the Director of Medical and Scientific Affairs of the Alzheimer's Association, and founding CEO and Executive Director of the Institute for Public Health and Water Research, prior to beginning her position at PAHO in 2014. Dr. Michael Depledge is the former head of science at the UK Environment Agency, Professor of Environment and Human Health and Chair of the Board of the European Centre for Environment and Human Health. Dr. Depledge has worked with the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization (WHO), including developing a WHO Collaborative Centre on Environment and Human Health, and was involved in the Rio+20 negotiations.

The global health challenges we face grow increasingly complex as environmental and social issues are intertwined with international politics. Collaborative solutions are needed to combat these challenges and improve public health and wellbeing of people globally.  I’m delighted that IGH is leading this conversation. Please join us on November 3rd for what will be a wonderful opportunity to listen to this impressive group of speakers and pose questions to experts on issues of relevance to us all.