Maureen Lichtveld, who is the director of the Center for Gulf Coast Environmental Health Research, Leadership and Strategic Initiatives within Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, has been named dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health. A member of the National Academy of Medicine, Lichtveld has nearly 40 years of experience in environmental public health. Her research focuses on environmentally induced disease, health disparities, environmental health policy, disaster preparedness, public health systems and community resilience.
Lichtveld will oversee the growth and continued success of Pitt Public Health—a community that spans seven academic departments, 640 students, 160 faculty and 320 support staff—beginning Jan. 1, 2021.
Lichtveld joins Pitt from Tulane University, where she is a professor and most recently chair of the Department of Global Environmental Sciences and holds an endowed chair in environmental policy. She also serves as associate director for population sciences with the Tulane Cancer Center, where she oversees and coordinates all cancer population research for the university, and is a member of the Louisiana Cancer Research Consortium’s Scientific Executive Committee.
In addition, Lichtveld serves as director of the Center for Gulf Coast Environmental Health Research, Leadership and Strategic Initiatives within Tulane’s School of Public Health and
Tropical Medicine. In this role, she leads the development and implementation of innovative disaster management, health promotion and disease prevention strategies to enhance the health and well-being of Gulf Coast communities.
“We set the bar exceptionally high when searching for the next dean of Pitt Public Health,” said Anantha Shekhar, Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Pitt’s School of Medicine. “We wanted a talented scholar and bold collaborator who could elevate the school’s record of academic and research excellence. We wanted a seasoned leader who could advance our commitment to helping communities—and the people within them—grow stronger and healthier. And we wanted someone who can add value to UPMC’s mission of innovation in the area of population health. Dr. Lichtveld checked all these boxes and more. I am thrilled to welcome her to the University of Pittsburgh and excited to see how the school will evolve on her watch.”
“I am honored to collaboratively lead Pitt Public Health and committed to elevating the school’s top-ranked status, visibility and impact worldwide,” said Lichtveld. “I am grateful to Dr. Shekhar and the search committee for this exceptional opportunity. Together, we will make science work for our communities—especially those most vulnerable, locally, nationally and globally.”
Prior to arriving at Tulane in 2005, Lichtveld spent 18 years with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. There, she designed public health research tools and protocols—adopted by all states nationwide—to guide national environmental health studies in communities living near hazardous waste sites.
A widely respected researcher and scholar, Lichtveld serves on a number of boards, including the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, which counts 170 university member institutions all over the world. Among her many professional highlights: She has chaired the editorial board of the American Journal of Public Health for two terms and earned recognition as the CDC’s Environmental Health Scientist of the Year. She holds a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and a Doctor of Medicine from Anton de Kom University of Suriname and the Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Lichtveld’s leadership succeeds that of Interim Dean Everette James, who took the helm of Pitt Public Health following Donald Burke’s 13-year tenure in the role.