For the incoming Dean of the School of Public Health and Health Services, the campus is a classroom and an opportunity for students to gain real world experience.
Lynn Goldman, who served as an assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency in the Clinton administration, will take charge of the SPHHS this August. SPHHS is one of only 39 public health schools in the nation.
“I’ve had this life-long passion for public health and everything related to public health,” Goldman said. “I think the role of public health is very important and these schools have the opportunity to train people who will be the next generation of public scientists and researchers.”
Goldman said environmental and preventative health issues have been a focus of her career and that she is looking forward to the opportunity to mold the future of the 13-year-old school.
“GW in particular is a wonderful school – it’s very young and has a tremendous amount of potential,” Goldman said.
Most recently Goldman served as a professor of environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, principal investigator for the Johns Hopkins National Children’s Study Center and dual principal investigator for the National Center of Excellence for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response. Before Johns Hopkins, Goldman worked as an assistant administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances. She received her bachelor’s degree from University of California, Berkeley and a master’s of public health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. President Steven Knapp worked at both Berkeley and Johns Hopkins before coming to GW.
Goldman said she wants to encourage GW students to take their education out into the city, where many “textbook” issues can be found.
“Washington, D.C. is a city that has all of the public health issues in the environment, not only in the U.S. but worldwide,” Goldman said. “We have an opportunity to play a role to develop strategies that improve public health right here in D.C.”
Goldman likened the city to a classroom, adding that Washingtonians have a unique opportunity to influence the world outside the District.
“I think that global public health can be a classroom because of the prevalence of international institutions,” Goldman said. “There are so many international NGOs – global health is a wonderful area of opportunity.”
For Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Lehman, Goldman’s experience made her a top choice for the position.
“Lynn Goldman really stood out because of her personal track record and the things she has done,” Lehman said. “Credentials like that are hard to find, they really are. It became very clear rapidly that she was one of the top people for the position.”
Academic prestige will be an important area of focus for the school, but Goldman said that starting a dialogue with students and faculty will be the first step she takes in her new position.
“It’s hard to say exactly where we are going because I haven’t started yet,” Goldman said. “But, one of the things I’ll want to do is engage with the faculty and the students to work with me and to define what areas might be that we can work together on.”
Goldman noted that her experiences with the EPA have readied her to tackle any obstacle that comes her way as dean.
“You set your sights on a very large goal and you work on it every single day, and you do it with all the people that you need help from,” Goldman said.
Goldman will not take over the school without challenge. SPHHS is in non-compliance with the faculty code. It does not have enough faculty on tenure or tenure-track.
For the last 20 months, popular Interim Dean Josef Reum ran the growing school.
This article appeared in the June 14, 2010 issue of the Hatchet.