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Emory University appoints new dean of Rollins School of Public Health

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Emory University appoints new dean of Rollins School of Public Health

M. Daniele Fallin, PhD, will join Emory University as the new James W. Curran Dean of Public Health at the Rollins School of Public Health in July. Photo courtesy of Emory University.

Atlanta, GA — Emory University has appointed M. Daniele Fallin, PhD, as the new James W. Curran Dean of Public Health at the Rollins School of Public Health. Fallin, an internationally regarded researcher and educator, will join the university on July 1, 2022, according to an announcement from the school.

Fallin currently serves as chair of the department of mental health for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is the Sylvia and Harold Halpert Professor and Bloomberg Centennial Professor. She holds joint appointments in the Bloomberg School’s Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry.

She is also the director of the Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and has led the center since 2013.

“I am excited to join the Rollins School of Public Health to support and amplify its outstanding work,” Fallin said. “Rollins has an incredible combination of excellence, a culture of kindness and passion for public health across the many dimensions of our field. The school has an impressive set of partners working to build and reinforce the public’s health including the CDC, Carter Center, Task Force for Global Health and many others.”

She added that Atlanta is an ideal location given Emory’s rich environment for learning and the proximity to critical public health entities.

“Students at all levels, from undergraduates to executive leaders, are now searching for more information about public health, and Emory is able to provide knowledge and experiences to meet their needs,” Fallin said.

Fallin will succeed James W. Curran, who joined the Rollins School of Public Health as dean and professor of epidemiology in 1995 following a 25-year career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I am excited to welcome Dr. Fallin as the next leader of the Rollins School of Public Health,” said Gregory Fenves, president of Emory University. “The Rollins School is globally recognized for its top-ranked programs, innovative research, and outstanding faculty who are transforming the landscape of public health. Dr. Fallin’s multidisciplinary expertise and many years of experience at the leading school of public health at Johns Hopkins University will elevate the Rollins School in the years ahead, building on the impressive foundation created by our faculty, researchers, and tremendous students.”

Dr. Jonathan S. Lewin, executive vice president of health affairs at Emory University and CEO of Emory Healthcare, said Fallin is an exceptional genetic and environmental epidemiologist and has an impressive research background.

“I am confident the Rollins School of Public Health will continue its position as a global leader in public health education and research under Dr. Fallin’s leadership and will help us build upon the Woodruff Health Sciences Center’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost academic health centers,” Lewin said.

Fallin focuses on applying genetic epidemiology methods to studies of neuropsychiatric disorders including autism, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and to developing applications and methods for genetic and epigenetic epidemiology, as applied to mental health and development.

She has led multiple CDC- and NIH-funded projects regarding how environments, behaviors, genetic variation and epigenetic variation contribute to risk for psychiatric disease, particularly autism. She currently leads the B’more Healthy Brain and Child Development (HBCD) study, one of 25 sites of the NIH’s newly initiated HBCD study, where she also serves as an associate director of the administrative core to guide epidemiologic design.

 “We are in the midst of a pandemic and a renaissance in public health research, and Rollins School of Public Health is a thought leader helping us navigate this crisis. Dr. Fallin comes to us with leadership experience at another great school of public health, and she impressed us all with her collaborative style, strategic thinking and vision for the role of public health in promoting health and wellness, including mental health,” said Ravi V. Bellamkonda, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory University.

Known as a tireless advocate for public mental health, Fallin has built a portfolio of mental health research, education and practice in her current department and has also focused on the well-being, health and safety of faculty, staff and students. At Johns Hopkins, she has led multiple university-wide efforts to include a student mental health and wellness task force and the COVID mental health task force for the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Additionally, Fallin has worked to promote mental health in the workplace. She recently joined the Luv u Project to establish a center for mental health in the workplace while partnering with other departments and divisions at Johns Hopkins University.

“This is an important time for public health globally. We face enormous challenges including global infectious diseases like the current pandemic, climate effects on health and the toll chronic diseases are taking on our collective health, including mental illness and addiction. Yet, there is also incredible opportunity,” Fallin said.

“The world is acutely aware of the importance of public health, and we have an opportunity to translate this awareness into action,” she added. “I am thrilled to lead the Rollins School of Public Health at this critical time and excited about the impact we will continue to make.”

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