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Dr. David J. Lee Named Chair of the Miller School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has named David J. Lee, Ph.D., professor and leading chronic disease and occupational health epidemiologist, chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences. Dr. Lee served as acting chair throughout the COVID-19 public health crisis and has been a faculty member of the department since 1990. 

“Dr. Lee brings 30 years of experience on the UM faculty as a public health leader in research, education, and vital service to our surrounding communities, and the world,” said Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A. dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School of Medicine, in a leadership message.

“His work as a chronic disease and occupational health epidemiologist is part of a body of research that places the department among the top in NIH funding," added Dean Ford. "He and the department are pursuing their overarching vision of a world with healthy people living in healthy communities. Under his leadership, connections to our immediate region and to countless international sites have grown exponentially, improving quality of life and providing unmatched training opportunities for students.”  

Since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, the public at large has been educated on the critical importance of public health, as well as on the need for more experts in the field.

Meeting those needs, expressed Dean Ford, is a top priority for Dr. Lee. The department has since seen a dramatic increase in applications to its master’s and doctoral programs. In the coming years, online programs and other innovations will help reach an even larger and more diverse pool of students. A highlight of the Miller School of Medicine’s growing programs is the M.D./M.P.H. program—the largest in the country—which is partially housed in the Department of Public Health Sciences.

As part of Dr. Lee’s vision as chair, “planetary resiliency”, which addresses the concerns of climate change and its impact on people and environments, is a top priority. The department will collaborate with other disciplines within the University and beyond to develop what Dr. Lee calls “a central role in working toward healthier people, healthier communities, and a healthier planet.”     

In addition to his research, his community focus, and his “real joy and passion” for training the next generation of scientists, Dr. Lee is principal investigator for the Florida Cancer Data System, which is based at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. For more than a decade, he has been involved in the state cancer registry, one of the most widely respected in the U.S. for its leadership and innovation.

“We are grateful to Dr. Lee for his inspired leadership and service, and we look forward to the continued acceleration of the critical work of the Miller School of Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences,” expressed Dean Ford.

Published on June 4, 2021