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Recruitment underway at O’Donnell School of Public Health to meet industry growth and demand

Smiling woman with wavy brown hair wearing a pink shirt watching a man with graying hair and glasses wearing and a dark suit write on a note pad.
Miguel Cano, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Peter O’Donnell Jr. School of Public Health, meets with student Mahder Tracy.

Career opportunities abound at the Peter O’Donnell Jr. School of Public Health (OSPH) – UT Southwestern’s first new school in more than 50 years – where the faculty is rapidly expanding in breadth and depth. The OSPH builds upon UTSW’s successful history of addressing public health issues by advancing knowledge in this burgeoning field, training leaders to promote health and reduce disease, and educating a strong pipeline of professionals in the field with a wide range of specialization and training.

Leading recruitment efforts are Saad B. Omer, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Ph.D., founding Dean of the OSPH, along with Trish Perl, M.D., M.Sc., and Raymond Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., both Professors in the OSPH. Their search is focused on finding excellent researchers and educators who can fill positions ranging from entry level to more senior levels of leadership.

“These individuals will enhance UT Southwestern’s cadre of educators and mentors by enriching our methodologic approaches to studying diseases and expanding work in disease-specific areas including cancer, infectious diseases, vaccinology, mental health, climate impact, pandemic response, maternal and child health, cardiovascular disease, and aging,” said Dr. Perl, a Professor of Internal Medicine who specializes in infectious diseases as a member of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine.

Two casually dressed woman sit a a desk looking at a computer monitor in a room with red brick walls.
Carolyn Smith-Morris, Ph.D., a Professor in the O’Donnell School of Public Health, conducts public health work in the community.

She is confident that many factors will draw applicants from far and wide, including UTSW’s reputation for innovation in medicine and outstanding research and clinical resources. “Dr. Omer is a well-known public health figure with an international reputation, and we have multiple faculty members with international status who have been great ambassadors,” Dr. Perl said. “Dallas is a big, diverse city, and the unique opportunities in public health are extraordinary.”

The overwhelming response from job applicants across the country shows great promise for recruitment success. “Many of our strongest candidates were referred to us by colleagues in the school or elsewhere within UT Southwestern,” said Dr. Greenberg, also a cancer researcher and epidemiologist. “Referrals are always an important means of identifying talented candidates, but it is especially true for new schools that are just beginning to establish their reputations. Once applicants become aware of the amazing opportunities at UT Southwestern, we stand an excellent chance of attracting them to join our new school.”

One promising recruiting approach is identifying candidates who can help build bridges between the OSPH and other programs within UTSW. “The Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, for example, has been a great partner in attracting faculty with interests in cancer prevention and control. Similarly, the Department of Psychiatry has been an asset in attracting faculty with expertise in mental health. Discussions are already underway with the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute, the Department of Pediatrics, the Division of General Internal Medicine, the Division of Cardiology, and multiple other entities about joint recruiting efforts,” Dr. Greenberg said.

Since launching in 2022, the OSPH has grown into a multidisciplinary team of 56 primary faculty members, 52 scholars with secondary appointments, and 75 staff members – all working in public health fields and thriving within UTSW’s rich academic environment of innovation and collaboration. In 2023, the OSPH welcomed its inaugural class of students with the first Doctor of Medicine/Master of Public Health (M.D./M.P.H.) dual degree students who began their studies in May and the first Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) class that commenced in August. The Ph.D. in Public Health program will kick off this fall for students with concentrations in Health Data Sciences and Health Economics and Policy.

As recruitment continues, the OSPH is attracting top talent and bringing new energy to the UTSW campus, said Greg Fitz, M.D., Special Assistant to the President at UTSW.

“2024 is going to be a great year. UT Southwestern has the privilege of taking care of the medical needs of millions of our neighbors in North Texas. With the addition of the O’Donnell School of Public Health, we can have an even greater impact on a much larger population since new faculty members will greatly expand our abilities in data sciences, epidemiology, implementation science, and many other areas. Dr. Omer and his team will be natural partners with our existing programs and will make us better. The results will improve health and well-being in Texas and beyond,” Dr. Fitz said.

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