University of Kentucky College of Public Health Provost Tim Tracy has selected Dr. Donna Arnett, associate dean at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health and former president of the American Heart Association, as the next dean of Kentucky.
Fostering a spirit of research collaboration across schools and disciplines, Dr. Arnett has served as the chair of UAB’s epidemiology department since 2004. Since her arrival, the epidemiology department has escalated to one of the top-10 research programs in the nation. Faculty members within her department serve as interdepartmental leaders and engage with other UAB faculty members.
A native of Kentucky, Dr. Arnett sees her new role as an opportunity to address health disparities relevant to the region, including cancer and drug abuse. She aims to strengthen the college’s relationships with state and regional health agencies and expand the college’s portfolio of National Institutes of Health-funded research. She will also partner with the faculty, staff, and students to develop a strategic plan for the college through 2020. Dr. Arnett believes the future of population health depends on successful interdisciplinary partnerships, and hopes to facilitate such networks to grow research opportunities and educational capacity at Kentucky.
“A big focus of mine will be bringing public health, medicine and other health related colleges closer together in terms of building population health,” Dr. Arnett said. “We’re building health for the Commonwealth, and it fits very well with President’s Capilouto’s vision of the University for Kentucky.”
In addition to academic leadership within the epidemiology department, Dr. Arnett recently assumed the role of UAB associate dean for academic and strategic programs. She has helped expand UAB’s innovative four-year joint medical doctor and master’s of public health degree and developed an online master’s of public heath degree. She has been instrumental in gaining the university’s accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Council on Education for Public Health.
After obtaining her bachelor’s of science in nursing, Dr. Arnett achieved a master’s of science in public health from the University of South Florida College of Public Health. She received her doctorate in epidemiology in 1992, from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health where she also completed an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellowship from 1992 to 1994. She was promoted to professor of epidemiology during her tenure at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.