Augusta University has announced initial leadership appointments for the university’s new School of Public Health. Under the direction of incoming inaugural dean Teresa Waters, PhD, the following individuals from four areas of the university that are foundational to the new school’s success will serve on the interim leadership team beginning Aug. 1.
“These interim appointments will continue the critical work of building our new School of Public Health,” said Neil J. MacKinnon, PhD, Augusta University provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “These individuals not only are an excellent match for the needs of the school, but they also are strong leaders who are dedicated to the new school’s success. This new school is a monumental undertaking, and I am excited for what it will do for Augusta University, our students, the citizens of Georgia and beyond.”
Jie Chen, PhD, will serve as interim associate dean for Academic and Student Affairs and as interim chair of the Department of Biostatistics, Data Science, and Epidemiology. Chen is currently a professor and interim chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences in the university’s Medical College of Georgia, where she has overseen the development and management of multiple new academic programs.
Gianluca De Leo, PhD, will serve as interim chair of the Department of Health Management, Economics, and Policy. De Leo is currently a professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences in the university’s College of Allied Health Sciences, where he previously served as chair of the Department of Clinical and Digital Health Sciences.
Aaron Johnson, PhD, will serve as interim associate dean for Research and Community Engagement and as interim chair of the Department of Social & Behavioral Sciences, and Health Promotion. Johnson is currently a professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the university’s College of Science and Mathematics and serves as director of the university’s Institute of Public and Preventive Health.
Bobbie Willcox will serve as interim assistant dean for Administration. She currently serves as associate director of the university’s Institute of Public and Preventive Health.
“These appointments will build on the excellent work by the program planning teams over this past year, led by Provost Fellows Amy Abdulovic-Cui, PhD, associate professor of biological sciences, Vishal Arora, MD, professor in the Department of Medicine, and Graduate School Dean Jennifer Sullivan, PhD,” said Waters. “I am so grateful to Provost MacKinnon for his vision and leadership and to President Brooks Keel for his unwavering support of our new School of Public Health. I look forward to working with our interim leadership team to build a strong and impactful school and position Augusta University as a leader in transforming population health across Georgia and around the world.”