Leadership Transition in Educational Leadership for the Master of Public Health

Julie Kornfeld, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director of Public Health Programs in the Department of Public Health Sciences, and Assistant Dean for Public Health at the Miller School of Medicine, has been named Vice Dean for Education at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. After close to 25 years at UM in several key positions, Kornfeld began her term at Columbia this month. A national search will be conducted for a Director of the Master in Public Health Programs. Several part-time interim appointments were made effective January 1:

• Viviana Horigian, M.D., associate professor of public health sciences, has been named Interim Director of Public Health Programs. She will have oversight for all master’s and joint-degree master’s programs in the Department of Public Health Sciences, including the M.P.H., M.S.P.H. and M.D./M.P.H. programs. Horigian, trained as a psychiatrist, is committed to improving public health practice through the implementation of clinical trials in real world settings. She has served as UM’s Principal Investigator in several of the multi-site trials supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network. More recently, she led the technological collaboration initiative to establish a clinical trials network in Mexico to provide training, coaching and mentoring to Mexican investigators for designing, implementing and analyzing evidence-based interventions in real-world settings. Horigian is using the same model of technological collaboration to help colleagues in Ecuador and Chile address public health problems in those countries. NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse honored Horigian with its 2015 International Leadership Award in recognition of her significant contributions to international mentoring, teaching and collaborative research. She teaches “Clinical Trials” and serves as a capstone, thesis and dissertation advisor to students in Public Health Sciences.

• Tatiana Perrino, Psy.D., assistant professor of public health sciences, has been named Interim Director of M.P.H./M.S.P.H. Program, and the Learning Collaboratory, which she and Horigian created to provide in-depth longitudinal experiences to M.P.H. students to help them develop community partnership and collaborative skills. Her research and community work focus on the prevention of cognitive, emotional and behavioral disorders in children. Perrino has served as project director for grants funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Aging, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She teaches “Health Education and Behavior” and “Determinants of Health & Health Disparities across the Life Course” and received the Public Health Student Association Teacher Award in June 2015. Perrino has also served as capstone, thesis, and dissertation advisor.

• Hermes J. Florez, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., professor of public health sciences and medicine, and Chief of the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Public Health Sciences, has been named Interim Director of the M.D./M.P.H. Program. Florez, who also serves as Director of the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center, is nationally renowned for his multidisciplinary approach to public health in the clinical context.

• Eric Hecht, M.D., M.S.P.H., voluntary associate professor of public health sciences, has been named Interim Deputy Director of the M.D./M.P.H. Program, responsible for all day-to-day activities. His research focuses on the epidemiology of chronic disease. Hecht has had considerable involvement in the M.D./M.P.H. program for the past three years. He continues to teach a number of courses for M.D./M.P.H. students, such as “Fundamentals of Epidemiology” and “Chronic Disease Epidemiology Methods,” and received the Public Health Student Association Teacher Award in June 2013.

“These tremendously able educators will ensure a smooth transition until a permanent director is appointed,” said Jose Szapocznik, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences and Director of the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

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