Key CDC leader selected as Public Health dean

by Tom O'Connor, UNMC public relations | May 13, 2014

Image with caption: Ali Khan, M.D., M.P.H.

Ali Khan, M.D., M.P.H.

A senior administrator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and former assistant surgeon general, Ali S. Khan, M.D., M.P.H., has been selected as the new dean of the UNMC College of Public Health.

"I'm looking forward to being involved in nurturing the next generation of public health innovators and leaders and developing the science for new public health solutions."

Ali Khan, M.D., M.P.H.

The appointment, effective July 1 pending approval of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, was announced Monday by UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.

"I am thrilled that Dr. Khan will be joining the UNMC leadership team," Dr. Gold said. "His public health skills and global leadership experience run the gamut. Among an incredibly strong field of finalists, he stood out as the individual whom we are confident will be able to lead the College of Public Health to new heights.

"With his vast experience and strong public health contacts around the world, he is someone who can make a difference and will elevate the college's presence nationally and internationally. We couldn't be more pleased."

Chancellor offers thanks

Jane Meza, Ph.D., chair of the department of biostatistics in the College of Public Health, has been serving as interim dean since September. "I really want to recognize and thank Dr. Meza for doing a stellar job as interim dean," Dr. Gold said. "The college hasn't missed a beat since Jane took over. She has been outstanding. We look forward to her continued leadership. "

Dr. Gold also had special praise for the 17-person search committee headed by James Turpen, Ph.D., professor of genetics, cell biology and anatomy, and associate vice chancellor of academic affairs, for their work in reviewing a broad field of highly qualified candidates and bringing forth four top-notch candidates.

"Public health is fundamentally changing due to advances in technology, shifting demographics, globalization and new opportunities for preventive health care due to the Affordable Care Act," Dr. Khan said. "I'm eager to be coming to an institution that is committed to excellence with a strong partnership between the colleges and health care enterprise. We are in a unique position to help define the future of public health as the primary means to improve the health of individuals and our communities.

"I'm looking forward to being involved in nurturing the next generation of public health innovators and leaders and developing the science for new public health solutions. Nebraska has an extremely engaged community. I am excited about the opportunity to pursue work with private industry, other public health entities, and the community who share a vision of transforming Nebraska into the healthiest state in the nation."

Dr. Khan cited a number of things that attracted him to this position:

  • A chancellor who is thinking 5-10 years in the future.
  • The young and imaginative faculty and staff at the College of Public Health.
  • Tremendous collegiality between the various UNMC colleges and clinical services.
  • Passionate state and local public health practitioners.
  • A generous community that has already built a new building for the college.

Dr. Khan will become the third dean of the UNMC College of Public Health, which was founded in 2007. He succeeds Ayman El-Mohandes. M.B.B.Ch., M.D., M.P.H., who held the post from 2009-2013.

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