ATLANTA—Dr. Collins Airhihenbuwa, a global public health scholar and educator, will join the School of Public Health at Georgia State University to lead a new interdisciplinary team known as the Global Research Against Non-communicable Disease (GRAND) Initiative.
Dr. Airhihenbuwa is a former Dean of the College for Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University. Previously, he was a faculty member for more than 30 years at Penn State University, where he headed up the Department of Biobehavioral Health in the College of Health and Human Development. He will join Georgia State on Aug. 1.
“I look forward to working closely with Dr. Airhihenbuwa to articulate the most strategic role that universities can play to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs),” said Dr. Michael Eriksen, Dean of the School of Public Health. “In just a few years, NCDs will be responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths worldwide. We in public health must work with colleagues across disciplines to find new and innovative ways to address these global threats.”
The GRAND initiative, part of Georgia State’s Next Generation research program, will address the growing global threat of NCDs, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, and mental illness. NCDs, also referred to as chronic diseases, are the leading cause of mortality around the globe, according to the World Health Organization.
These health problems have long been the major cause of death and disease in high-income countries and are growing at alarming rates in low- and middle-income countries.
The GRAND Initiative will hire additional new faculty who will collaborate with current Georgia State faculty to develop strategies to reduce the global burden of chronic diseases, help more people enjoy longer, healthier, more productive lives and reduce overall healthcare costs. With the School of Public Health as the lead, faculty from Georgia State’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Byrdine F. Lewis College of Nursing and Health Professions and the College of Arts and Sciences will contribute their expertise to the GRAND Initiative.
“The GRAND initiative is a testament to the commitment of the School of Public Health and Dean Eriksen to tackle health inequities,” said Dr. Airhihenbuwa. “This initiative provides both global and local opportunities to address social, systemic and structural determinants of health. I very much look forward to joining my new colleagues and I can think of no better place to become a part of collective efforts to generate innovative and sustainable solutions to reduce global NCDs.”