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U. announces new dean of Rutgers School of Public Health

<p>Starting in August, Perry N. Halkitis will take over as the new dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health. Prior to being offered this position, Halkitis served as a dean at New York University for 20 years.</p>

Starting in August, Perry N. Halkitis will take over as the new dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health. Prior to being offered this position, Halkitis served as a dean at New York University for 20 years.

Earlier this week, Perry N. Halkitis, senior associate dean of New York University's College of Global Public Health, was designated the new dean of the Rutgers School of Public.

The Rutgers School of Public Health (RSPH) seeks to improve health and prevent disease in diverse populations by educating its students to become well-qualified and effective public health leaders, researchers and practitioners.

The school conducts research to advance public health science and policies, and it provides service programs that promote population and individual health.

Halkitis is a professor of global public health, applied psychology and medicine at New York University (NYU). He has focused a significant amount of his research on HIV/AIDS, drug abuse and mental health disease and how they are impacted by psychiatric and psychosocial factors.

He will be moving from his senior associate dean position at NYU College of Global Public Health, director of NYU’s Center for Health, Identity and Behavior and Prevention Studies, and interim chair of the Department of Biostatistics at the College of Global Public Health.

Halkitis will be replacing Cristine D. Delnevo, interim dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health.

According to a message to the Rutgers community, Brian Strom, the inaugural chancellor of the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS), made the announcement in late March. He said that Halkitis’s experience includes a broad range of outstanding achievements as an academic leader in public health and as a leader in bio-behavioral, psychological and public health research.

“I am confident that his expertise, skills and dedication to public education, research and instruction will contribute significantly to the School of Public Health’s progress in becoming one of the nation’s strongest public health schools,” Strom said.

Halkitis’s new position will be official in August.

Halkitis said he has been working at NYU for close to 20 years. 

“I have been very happy there. But I am very excited about the possibilities and opportunities that exist at Rutgers and at RSPH,” he said. “I also very much look forward to working with all my colleagues across the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences schools."

Halkitis said the different schools and the opportunity for collaboration and cross-disciplinary teaching and research are reasons he chose to come to Rutgers. 

“I have wanted the opportunity to work with Chancellor Strom, whom I hold in very high regard,” he said. “RSPH is a school that is on the move and I wanted to do my part to help keep it moving and be part of the journey.”

Halkitis' current research activities include a longitudinal investigation delineating the risk and resiliencies of young gay and bisexual men as they emerge into adulthood, said Jeff Tolvin, the director of University News and Media Relations. 

Halkitis has worked on a lot of AIDS and HIV research. His book, "The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience," received the Distinguished Book Award the field of LGBT psychology from the American Psychological Association (APA).

Halkitis said he hopes to work closely with his colleagues to lead the institution with one overriding goal — to become an even more highly ranked, regarded and respected school of public health. 

“I hope (for the school) to be recognized for its innovative and entrepreneurial research that enhances the health and well-being of people locally, domestically and globally, with a particular focus on the health of urban populations,” he said.

In a change of subject, Halkitis said he has not yet had the chance to try a fat sandwich. 

“Why do I think I might at some point in the very near future. After all, it's a Rutgers tradition,” he said.

He is excited to start at Rutgers—New Brunswick, he said. 

“The possibilities for the great work we can do in public health and the health and well-being of all people are endless. Also, the presence of public health in Piscataway and Newark holds many opportunities, including building a strong funded urban health research program at the Newark site," he said. “I want RSPH to be known for its cutting edge research, its innovative and effective teaching programs and its commitment to serving the public and the public’s health."

Jillian Pastor is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

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