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U of U Health Sciences Announces New Chief of Division of Public Health

September 2, 2008 — As of Aug. 1, the division that maintains one of the largest graduate programs within the University of Utah health sciences has a new leader, and although there are challenges ahead, Stephen C. Alder, Ph.D., assistant professor of Family and Preventive Medicine, is ready to face them head on.

“We’re a division that’s on the move,” said Alder, the newly appointed chief of the Division of Public Health, “and my charge is to move us forward quickly and efficiently. It’s an optimistic time, but challenging, too, because we know we need to increase our capacity in a short amount of time.”

With public health concerns – and threats – looming, Alder says now is a critical time to expand depth of study within the division, which is an important part of his overall goal as chief. Furthermore, he’s looking forward to propelling the University of Utah forward as a global name in public health research.

A 20-year member of the University of Utah family, earning his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from the U, Alder transitioned to the Division of Public Health in 1998 and has since served in various faculty and administrative positions. His focus of study includes global health concerns, pandemic flu, antibacterial resistance, and health issues related to nuclear fallout.

“I am delighted that Steve has accepted appointment as chief of the Public Health Division,” says Michael Magill, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine. “Dr. Alder has demonstrated himself to be a superb teacher, scholar, leader and colleague. He is committed to improving health of communities and individuals, leading interdisciplinary research to improve our understanding of how to achieve health, and preparing future public health and clinical leaders.”

Under the Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, the Division of Public Health is home to 30 faculty and staff members and offers degree programs for a Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Public Health and a Ph.D. in Public Health. The division has also been named as one of the top public health programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.