ATLANTA – Risa I. Palm, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at Georgia State University, has announced the appointment of Michael Eriksen as the founding dean of the School of Public Health.
Eriksen has served as professor and director of the Institute of Public Health from its inception in 2002. The institute became a free standing academic unit at Georgia State during the reorganization of the former College of Health and Human Sciences in 2011.
“President Becker and I welcome the opportunity to continue working with Dr. Eriksen to establish an accredited School of Public Health, and to advance the goals of the University Strategic Plan,” Palm said.
Eriksen said he welcomed the opportunity to lead during a time of transition for public health at the university.
“I’m honored and excited to lead Georgia State’s public health program going into its next phase,” he said. “There are tremendous opportunities for a public’ public health school in Atlanta.”
Eriksen came to Georgia State in 2002 from the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was a senior advisor on non-communicable disease and health promotion issues.
Prior to his two years at WHO, he was director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for eight years.
Previous academic appointments have included the Medical College of Georgia (now Georgia Health Sciences University), the University of Texas Health Science Center and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Limburg in the Netherlands and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
He is the lead author of the fourth edition of “The Tobacco Atlas,” a key reference on smoking worldwide published by the American Cancer Society and the World Lung Foundation.
During his tenure at Georgia State, the Institute of Public Health established accredited master’s and Ph.D. programs. Faculty grew from four to more than 50 within 10 years, with research funding exceeding $8 million while producing more than 200 alumni of the institute’s graduate programs.
Under his leadership, the university won a major grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish the Center of Excellence in Health Disparities Research, an interdisciplinary effort among multiple departments at GSU to address health disparities in the United States.
Eriksen received his Doctor of Science and Master of Science degrees from The John Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health.
May 3, 2012