Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH Appointed Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences

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Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH Appointed Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences

bernheim.jpgRuth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH has been appointed Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, according to an announcement today from Steven T. DeKosky, MD, FACP, Vice President and Dean of the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

"I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH, as Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, effective November 1, 2010.

Ms. Bernheim has served as Director of the Division of Public Health Policy and Practice in the Department of Public Health Sciences since 2005. She is the founding director of the Master of Public Health Program in the School of Medicine, which includes dual degrees with medicine, law, and business administration.

Ms. Bernheim’s scholarship focuses on public health policy, law and ethics, and she currently serves on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Ethics Subcommittee and Virginia's State Pandemic Flu Advisory Board. She also is the current President of the Virginia Public Health Association.

She received her law degree from the University of Virginia and her Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. Since coming to the University ten years ago from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health faculty, she has initiated numerous new educational programs in research. These include interdisciplinary and community translational education, postdoctoral, graduate, medical school programs, and undergraduate studies. Programs she led or co-led include the development of the Certificate in Public Health Sciences for Residents and Fellows, the 5-year BA/BS-MPH Program, and the undergraduate Global Public Health Minor and Human Biology Major. As a director of these programs, she has mentored more than 40 graduate and 10 undergraduate research projects.

The Associate Director of the University-wide Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life since 2001, Ms. Bernheim teaches courses across Grounds, including in the law school and school of arts & sciences. She is a member of the founding faculty of the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

Ms. Bernheim has leadership positions in numerous professional initiatives, including the national board of the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research; the managing board of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and the Association of Schools of Public Health's committee on undergraduate education.

I wish to extend my deep gratitude to the members of the search committee, led by Karen Johnston, MD, MSc, for their excellent work and tireless dedication.

Steven T. DeKosky, MD, FACP
Vice President and Dean"


"I'm delighted," Bill Knaus, Founding Chair of the Department, responded to the announcement, "that Ruth has accepted the challenge of directing PHS into a new decade and what I know will be an ongoing record of new accomplishments. Ruth has a great strategic sense of the important role of PHS both for the University’s educational and research missions and is greatly respected across campus as well as around the nation. She is the right leader at the right time and we are lucky to have her."

Stephen S. Rich, PhD, Director of the Center for Public Health Genomics and Professor of Public Health Sciences, has agreed to serve as Vice-Chair for Research.