August 22, 2007
Arnold School of Public Health dean to lead institute;
environmental-health leader named interim dean
Dr. Donna Richter, dean of the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, is leaving that post to become executive director of the S.C. Public Health Institute.
The appointment becomes official Sept. 1.
Dr. Thomas Chandler, chairman of the Arnold School's department of environmental health sciences for nine years, has been named interim dean. The university will launch a national search for the school's new leader.
Richter, dean of the Arnold School since 2003, will retain her faculty position in the department of health promotion, education and behavior while leading the institute, which will be housed at the university.
The institute will identify public-health priorities statewide and bring key public-health groups together to collaborate on policies and responses to public-health challenges and threats.
"This institute will elevate the discourse on public-health priorities in South Carolina and do so by reaching beyond the university in bringing together key stakeholders across all public-health sectors," said Dr. Harris Pastides, the university's vice president for research and health sciences.
"The mission of this institute will promote effective responses to critical public-health challenges while focusing, in part, on policy issues," he said.
The S.C. Public Health Institute had its beginnings with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Turning Point Initiative in 2000 that focused on strengthening public-health programs in communities and, more recently, under the CDC's Academic Health Department grant program. Richter is the principal investigator on another grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that fosters the formation of institutes nationally to address public-health issues.
During Richter's tenure as dean, the Arnold School experienced many significant advances, including the dedication of the Public Health Research Center, the first building of Innovista and the No. 1 ranking of the department of exercise science. Richter's own research garnered more than $8 million in grants, including a grant of approximately $6 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support a program to tackle the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic among minorities. Richter was instrumental in developing the S.C. Public Health Consortium and the Office of Public Health Practice.
Visit http://www.sph.sc.edu/ to learn more about the Arnold School of Public Health.