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January 12, 2011

Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH, to chair Department of Public Health Sciences

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Steven T. DeKosky, MD, vice president and dean of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, recently announced the appointment of Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH, to the position of chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences .

“I am excited about the breadth of experience Ms. Bernheim brings to our public health sciences department,” said DeKosky. “We know she will continue to develop and foster a culture of collaboration with other researchers and students across Grounds.

Ms. Bernheim has served as Director of the UVA Division of Public Health Policy and Practice in the Department of Public Health Sciences since 2005. She is the founding director of the Master of Public Health Program in the School of Medicine, which includes dual degrees with medicine, law, and business administration.

“I am honored to lead the Department of Public Health Sciences,” said Bernheim. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in my department and across disciplines to advance public health on local, national, and international levels.”

Ms. Bernheim received her law degree from the University of Virginia and her Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Since coming to the University ten years ago from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health faculty, she has initiated numerous new educational programs in research. These include interdisciplinary and community translational education, postdoctoral, graduate, medical school programs, and undergraduate studies. Programs she led or co-led include the development of the Certificate in Public Health Sciences for Residents and Fellows, the 5-year BA/BS-MPH Program, and the undergraduate Global Public Health Minor and Human Biology Major. As a director of these programs, she has mentored more than 40 graduate and 10 undergraduate research projects.

Ms. Bernheim’s scholarship focuses on public health policy, law and ethics, and she currently serves on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Ethics Subcommittee and Virginia’s State Pandemic Flu Advisory Board. She also is the current President of the Virginia Public Health Association.

Ms. Bernheim is the Associate Director of the University-wide Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life. She is a member of the founding faculty of the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

Ms. Bernheim has leadership positions in numerous professional initiatives, including the national board of the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research; the managing board of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and the Association of Schools of Public Health’s committee on undergraduate education.

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