Sandro Galea, Robert A. Knox Professor and dean at the Boston University School of Public Health (SPH), has been selected for several prestigious leadership positions in the public health field. In December 2016, Dean Galea was elected chair of the board of the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), an international organization representing accredited public health schools and programs worldwide. His six-year term begins in March 2017. Galea was also elected inaugural president of the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science (IAPHS), a professional membership organization launched in late 2016.
Also in December, Galea accepted an invitation to serve as one of the 14 voting members of the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That term begins immediately and will end on September 30, 2020.
Galea, a physician and epidemiologist, says he is honored by the appointments and sees them as an extension of his role as dean of a leading school of public health.
“I truly think it’s important to be involved with bodies that engage in the business of making change happen,” says Galea, who currently serves on the National Advisory Council on Minority Health and Health Disparities, at the National Institutes of Health, and formerly served as chair of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Community Services Board and as a member of its Board of Health. “Boards like these work at the interface of the academic world of ideas and their translation to action,” he says. “It’s part of my responsibility to work at that interface.”
The CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response receives approximately $1.4 billion annually from Congress to prepare for public health emergencies, including natural, biological, chemical, radiological, and nuclear incidents, according to the CDC website.
The CDC’s Board of Scientific Counselors, to which Galea has been named, meets at the agency’s Atlanta headquarters at least twice a year and is charged with advising the US secretary of health and human services, the CDC director, and the OPHPR director on programs and research, as well as reviewing research grants and steering the organization’s overall direction, focus, and strategy.
“Dean Galea exemplifies the University’s commitment to using research to improve the lives of our neighbors, the nation, and the world,” says Jennifer Grodsky, Boston University’s vice president for federal relations. “I’ve seen how policy makers are influenced by the work of the BU School of Public Health, and Galea’s role on the CDC advisory committee and his leadership in ASPPH will strengthen BU’s impact at a national level.”
The Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health also has an advocacy role, promoting evidence-based public health policies in Washington, DC, and beyond, and also working to educate public health professions, students, and leaders. As chair of the ASPPH, Galea will have the opportunity to help shape the field. “It’s an important time for public health,” says Galea, who plans to use the opportunity to draw attention to the foundational issues that drive health—like gun control, mass incarceration, and access to health care—that he has targeted during his tenure as dean.
“These appointments demonstrate how Boston University engages in the world in both education and research policy,” says University President Robert A. Brown. “They also are recognition of Dean Galea’s stature in public health as an academic leader and researcher.”