Following a national search, Dr. Collins O. Airhihenbuwa, has been named the next dean of the College for Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University (SLU). His appointment is effective January 1, 2016.
Dr. Airhihenbuwa is the head of the Department of Biobehavioral Health in the College of Health and Human Development at Pennsylvania State University. The interdisciplinary unit is home to more than 30 faculty and nearly 950 undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. students.
“Dr. Airhihenbuwa is a global leader in the field of public health, and we are fortunate to have a visionary scholar of such international prominence join our University,” said SLU Provost Dr. Nancy Brickhouse.
A member of Penn State’s faculty for more than three decades, Airhihenbuwa also directs the Pan-University Network for Global Health, a newly established consortium of 13 U.S. and international higher education institutions working together to address global health concerns.
A highly successful researcher, Dr. Airhihenbuwa developed the PEN-3 model, a culturally centric framework that has been used to guide diverse health interventions worldwide, from malaria prevention in Africa to diabetes management in the United States.
“Dr. Airhihenbuwa’s innovative approach to health promotion aligns with SLU’s Catholic, Jesuit values to serve — in and with — communities and to work for the common good, two areas in which our College for Public Health and Social Justice truly excels,” Dr. Brickhouse said.
As Dr. Airhihenbuwa’s renown as a researcher and scholar has grown, so has his advocacy work in addressing health disparities and social inequities. Numerous international groups, including the World Health Organization and the United Nations, have sought his expert counsel.
Many leading scientific organizations have recognized Dr. Airhihenbuwa’s contributions to the field as well, including the Society for Public Health Education, the American Association for Health Education and the American Academy of Health Behavior.
The author of more than 100 books, book chapters and journal articles, Dr. Airhihenbuwa’s latest works are: Ethnicity: Theories, International Perspectives and Challenges (2013) and Healing Our Differences: The Crisis of Global Health and the Politics of Identity (2007).
Dr. Airhihenbuwa earned his PhD in public health administration and master’s degree in public health from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He received a bachelor’s degree in health planning and administration from Tennessee State University in Nashville.
“The opportunity to lead a college that has social justice as a core mission of public health was what made this deanship most attractive to me,” Dr. Airhihenbuwa said. “With inequity in health as one of the most urgent challenges of our time, the College for Public Health and Social Justice at SLU is uniquely positioned to be a leader in advancing innovative solutions that could become a model for research, teaching and outreach — nationally and globally.”
Dr. Airhihenbuwa succeeds Edwin Trevathan, M.D., M.P.H., who left SLU in March to become executive vice president and provost at Baylor University. Dr. Donald Linhorst, a longtime faculty member and director of the School of Social Work, is serving as interim dean.