Professor Joel Kaufman Named Interim Dean of Public Health

Professor Joel Kaufman has been named interim dean of the UW School of Public Health, effective Sept. 24.

A long-time faculty member and researcher at the School, Kaufman is an internationally recognized expert in the relationship between environmental factors and cardiovascular disease, and in the health effects of exposure to ambient air pollutants, such as diesel exhaust.

He will succeed Howard Frumkin, who is stepping down Sept. 23 after six years as dean. A national search for a permanent dean will begin in summer 2017, with the goal of hiring a new dean by autumn 2018.

“We have enormous respect for Dr. Kaufman as a public health scholar, physician, teacher, mentor and leader,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce and Provost Gerald Baldasty in a joint statement on Aug. 30. “He is exactly the right leader who can sustain the excellence that characterizes the School of Public Health.”

Kaufman is a professor of environmental and occupational health sciences, epidemiology and general internal medicine. He is principal investigator of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution, or “MESA Air,” and has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since joining the UW faculty in 1997. Kaufman is also a highly respected UW Medicine physician.

“He understands that the health of communities relies on assuring healthy environments where people live, work, and play, in addition to accessible, affordable, evidence-based health care,” Cauce and Baldasty said. “In order to thrive, communities need clean air, excellent educational opportunities, safe and reliable transportation, and rich cultural experiences.”

Kaufman serves as chair of the SPH elected faculty council and was named by students in 2015 as the School’s outstanding faculty mentor. Under the UW’s new Population Health initiative, he will join other UW leaders across campus to bring together disciplines to advance population health here and around the world.

“It’s an honor to be asked to serve as the interim dean of our fantastic School of Public Health,” Kaufman said. “This is a world-class School thanks to our terrific faculty, staff, and students, and I look forward to building on the great work Dean Frumkin has accomplished in his six years of leadership.”

Kaufman earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Michigan and his master’s degree in public health from the UW.

“This is an exciting time for the School as we work with our partners in Seattle and around the world to lead the way in teaching, research, and service to improve the health of populations,” Kaufman added.  “Every day our faculty, staff, and students show their passion through innovative approaches to improving health and well-being, and through working to end health disparities.”

Read the full announcement.