Gates foundation director appointed dean of School of Public Health

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Stefano Bertozzi, a distinguished global health scientist specializing in AIDS research, will become dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health Sept. 1.

Bertozzi, currently HIV director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and an affiliate professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Washington, will succeed Stephen Shortell, a professor of health policy and management who has served as dean for 11 years.

“Berkeley has extraordinary opportunities because of the strength of the university,” Bertozzi said.

According to Abbie Smith, academic human resources analyst at the School of Public Health, the search committee narrowed its selections to four candidates in May and sent its vote to Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer, who said Bertozzi was the search committee’s unanimous first choice.

“Stefano Bertozzi’s extensive experience confronting and engaging complex global health challenges, combined with his expert academic credentials, make him uniquely suited to lead UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health,” said UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks in a statement released Tuesday.

Bertozzi was a visiting professor at UC Berkeley and an affiliate of the Haas School of Business for many years. He also has an established connection with the students, having worked with UC Berkeley graduate and postdoctoral students in Mexico while at the Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica.

With global health experience in Mexico, Africa, Asia and Latin American countries, Bertozzi hopes to increase students’ opportunities to work internationally, increasing their understanding of public health in the field.

“Experience in the field is extraordinarily important,” Bertozzi said. “I’m hoping to sit down with students and faculty to see what they want from the program.”

Bertozzi says the study of public health will become increasingly interdisciplinary due to technological advancements. However, he hopes that the department of public health will aid in the delivery of health services by collaborating with programs like business that are not based in the hard sciences.

“In the U.S., because of profit motive, attention to health services is to maximize profit,” Bertozzi said. “But there is no reason we can’t use the same tools to maximize health.”

Breslauer said Bertozzi’s expert knowledge of the philanthropic world will also be needed in his new position.

“Increasingly, we are dependent on philanthropic world to make ends meet, and it is to our great benefit that we have a dean who can be a very skilled fundraiser,” Breslauer said.

Bertozzi will make a rapid one-day transition, wrapping up his last day of work in Seattle on Aug. 31. Bertozzi will serve as dean at 80 percent time between Sept. 1 and Nov 15, while he works 20 percent time at the Gates Foundation to complete projects he had started there. In mid-November, he will begin working full-time at UC Berkeley.

Contact J. Hannah Lee at [email protected]

Clarification(s):
A previous version of this article may have implied that Bertozzi would continue working full-time at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation while serving as a dean. In fact, Bertozzi will serve as a dean at UC Berkeley at 80 percent time between Sept. 1 and Nov 15, while he works 20 percent time at the Gates Foundation to complete projects he had started there. In mid-November, he will begin working full-time at UC Berkeley.