University of South Carolina

Chandler named dean of the Arnold School of Public Health

G. Thomas “Tommy” Chandler, interim dean of the Arnold School of Public Health since August 2007, has been named dean of the school, effective immediately.

During his two-year tenure as interim dean, the school has added a popular bachelor’s degree program in public health and maintained its perennial place among the top three schools and colleges within the University for external research funding.

Tom Chandler
Tom Chandler

"There is a lot of opportunity before us, and I’m excited about the University’s commitment to building a new academic home for the Arnold School within the next three years,” said Chandler, who first joined Carolina in 1987 as a post-doctoral fellow in the Baruch Institute.

Currently, only a portion of the school’s faculty and labs are located in the new Public Health Research Center on Assembly Street; many more are located in the old Health Sciences building on Sumter Street. Plans call for building an office/classroom building beside the Assembly Street facility that will allow the school to gather all of its faculty and centers in one location.

President Harris Pastides was dean of the Arnold School when Chandler was chair of the school’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences.

"I was impressed with Dr. Chandler’s leadership as department chair then, and I’ve been even more impressed with his leadership as interim dean,” said President Harris Pastides. “I’m looking forward to the school’s accomplishments in the years ahead under his direction.”

Immediate challenges facing the school include a need to replace several faculty who have left or retired in recent years, Chandler said.

"We’ve lost 17 tenure-track faculty in the past three years so a top priority is to reload our faculty appointments, especially in three departments that have been especially hard hit: health services, policy, and management; environmental health sciences; and epidemiology and biostatistics,” he said. “We’re hoping to add four to five new faculty per year during the next five years.”

Chandler’s other goals for the school include:

• providing high-quality academic training to students to help address an anticipated public health worker shortage of 250,000 by 2020. 

• finding resources to improve diversity of minorities who are underrepresented in the school’s student body, faculty, and staff

• encouraging development of novel cross-college interdisciplinary research and education programs

• meeting ambitious fund-raising goals

• bringing prominent public health speakers to campus for open public forums

• working with the School of Medicine to create significant exposure of medical students to public health concepts and tools 

• leveraging the Greenville Hospital System initiative to bring quality graduate public health education to the Upstate

• move the Arnold School’s ranking to top five in the South within five years through recruiting and retaining quality faculty with expertise in “southern state” health issues such as childhood obesity, diabetes, stroke, tobacco use, domestic violence, physical inactivity in children and adults, inadequate nutrition, environmental degradation, and poor design of built environments for health.

Posted: 07/15/09 @ 12:15 PM | Updated: 07/30/09 @ 3:12 PM | Permalink