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New leadership for centers, department


Dr. John Clemens has joined the faculty as professor in the Department of Epidemiology and founding director of the Center for Global Infectious Diseases. Clemens’ scientific career in global health has spanned academia, the U.S. government and international organizations. A world-renowned expert in vaccine development and evaluation in developing countries, he most recently served as founding director-general of the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, South Korea. His research has focused on innovative methodological approaches to evaluating vaccines in developing-country populations, and generating evidence needed for policy decisions about vaccine introduction in developing countries. His work in the developing world has included studies in Bangladesh, Chile, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam. Clemens led the team that developed the first low-cost oral vaccine against cholera, which was recently deployed in Haiti. In recognition of his work, he was awarded the Sabin Gold Medal in 2010. Previous positions include chief of the Epidemiology Section of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland and chief of the Epidemiology Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Dr. David Eisenman is the new director of the school’s Center for Public Health and Disasters, as well as a member of the faculty of the Department of Community Health Sciences. A board-certified internist trained in psychiatry as well as internal medicine, Eisenman is an associate natural scientist at RAND and associate professor in residence in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His disaster research has focused on preparedness among health systems, communities, individuals, vulnerable populations and behavioral health and trauma. Eisenman replaces interim director Dr. Kim Shoaf.

Dr. Beate Ritz has been named chair of the school’s Department of Epidemiology, where she has served on the faculty since 1995. Ritz also holds appointments as professor in the departments of Environmental Health Sciences and Neurology. An internationally recognized and highly productive and well-funded research scholar, Ritz focuses on the health effects of occupational and environmental toxins such as pesticides, ionizing radiation, and air pollution on chronic diseases such as neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinson’s disease), cancers, and adverse birth outcomes and asthma.