New Public Health dean’s focus has been on environmental health policy


Maureen Lichtveld will step into her new role as dean of the Graduate School of Public health in January 2021.

Lichtveld brings nearly 40 years of experience in environmental public health to the position, according to a University news release, with her research focusing on environmentally induced disease, health disparities, environmental health policy, disaster preparedness, public health systems and community resilience.

She most recently was the director of the Center for Gulf Coast Environmental Health Research, Leadership and Strategic Initiatives in Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences Anantha Shekhar said that Lichtveld will help advance the University and UPMC’s goals in public health.

“We set the bar exceptionally high when searching for the next dean of Pitt Public Health,” Shekhar said in the news release. “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.”

Lichtveld will oversee Pitt Public Health which comprises seven academic departments, 640 students, 160 faculty and 320 support staff, according to the release.

Shekhar said in the Nov. 5 Faculty Assembly meeting that Lichtveld also will focus on developing an undergraduate public health program in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences.

“I am honored to collaboratively lead Pitt Public Health and committed to elevating the school’s top-ranked status, visibility and impact worldwide,” Lichtveld said in the news release. “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.”

Lichtveld’s experience extends to the Centers for Disease and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, where she spent 18 years.

She holds a masters 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 is the second new dean to join Pitt recently. On Oct. 1, Carissa Schively Slotterback, associate dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, took over as dean of Pitt’s Graduate School for Public and International Affairs. Former Dean John T. S. Keeler stepped at the end of June.

Paul Cohen, founding dean of the School of Computing and Information, stepped down from that role and returned to the faculty, effective July 1. Bruce Childers, senior associate dean in SCI and special assistant to the provost for Data Science, is serving as interim dean.

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-383-9905.


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