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Rutgers School of Public Health names new dean

Jessica Perry//January 21, 2015

Rutgers School of Public Health names new dean

Jessica Perry//January 21, 2015

Jasjit S. Ahluwalia, an expert in the fields of health disparities and nicotine addiction in minority populations, has been named dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, effective April 2015.Currently, he is a professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center, where he was recruited in 2005 to become the founding executive director of the Office of Clinical Research.

Ahluwalia recently completed his term as chair of the National Advisory Council for Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health. He was appointed to the council by former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

“With Jasjit Ahluwalia’s exceptional experience, expertise, and energy, the Rutgers School of Public Health will build on its existing strengths and develop new areas of study and exploration, while fostering the growth of junior-level researchers,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “These future achievements will benefit students, New Jerseyans and the rest of the country.”

The Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences division oversees several schools within Rutgers, including its two medical schools: New Jersey Medical School in Newark and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick.

George Rhoads, who had been serving as interim dean, will continue as a member of the Rutgers School of Public Health faculty.

Ahluwalia has received more than $21 million in funding as principal investigator and more than $80 million as co-investigator and is widely published. In 2009, he was awarded a $6.2 million NIH grant establishing the Center for Health Equity at the University of Minnesota.

His primary research work has focused on nicotine addiction and smoking cessation in African-American smokers by way of conducting clinical trials, secondary analysis, qualitative research and clinical epidemiology research. Ahluwalia recently extended the research to the role of menthol in quitting, pharmacokinetics of nicotine, pharmacogenetics and cancer biomarkers. In addition, he is engaged in global health work with two active research projects in Mumbai and New Delhi, India.

Ahluwalia received his undergraduate degree at New York University and a combined MD/MPH from the Tulane University Schools of Medicine and Public Health. During a two-year fellowship at Harvard, he studied clinical epidemiology, trained in clinical research and earned an MS in health policy from the School of Public Health.

Subsequently, Ahluwalia held a joint appointment as assistant professor of medicine and assistant professor of health policy at the Emory University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, becoming one of the 30 inaugural fellows of the interdisciplinary-focused Carter Center at Emory.

He was named vice chair and director of research for the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1997 and then department chair in 2001.

Ahluwalia received the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s national award for his excellence in mentoring, the Herbert W. Nickens Award for national leadership and research in improving minority health and the lifetime leadership award from American Public Health Association for his work on tobacco.

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