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Howard Hu stepping down as Dean on July 1, 2017

March 1/2017

Dear friends:

I am writing to let you know (as some of you read Cheryl Regehr’s message that was sent to the University of Toronto community in January) that after five terrific and rewarding years leading the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, including four as the inaugural Dean, I will be stepping down at the end of my five year term as the School’s leader, effective July 1, 2017.  A variety of personal and professional reasons have me looking forward to transitioning into my one-year administrative leave/sabbatical, during and after which I intend to continue  working with many of you on topics about which I am passionate and can contribute as a scholar.

As I step down I am confident that the Faculty is strong and that its future is bright. Our leadership in the Dean’s office, the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, the Divisions and all of the School’s Institutes and Centres is highly capable and dedicated.  As noted in our recent external review, our academic programs are strong and the impact of our scholarship is already deep and wide.

Our recently completed five-year strategic plan is well-positioned to guide us into the future, with our growing communications footprint and advancement initiatives helping to accelerate the expansion of the Faculty’s global profile and pool of supporters.  We have met our expanded enrolment targets while continuing to attract the best and the brightest in Canada and beyond.  Our investigators are increasingly successful in obtaining funding, and our financial status and outlook are strong.

The School’s portfolio of initiatives continues to grow. In addition to the outstanding work being done individually by our faculty, teams of scholars from the Public Health Sciences  Divisions are leading new research and training initiatives related to applied immunizations, “Big Data” and population health, exposomics, tobacco and urban environmental health.

In addition, the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation continues to lead the nation in health services, health policy, and clinical epidemiology research while creating new programs related to health executive training, health informatics, health economics. Together  with Clinical Epidemiology scholars, “collaboratory” opportunities for experimenting in sustainable health system innovations, such as the Healthy Barrie initiative, are well on their way.

Many new initiatives are underway through the efforts of the university-wide trans-disciplinary units, such as the Joint Centre for Bioethics, the Institute for Global Health Equity and Innovation, the Waakebinesse-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health, the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research and the Healthier Cities and Communities Hub.  And despite constraints on funding, we have continued to develop an outstanding set of global health collaboration platforms and other global health research and training opportunities in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Moi (Kenya), Shanghai, and elsewhere.

Many challenges remain, of course. The complexity of negotiations between faculties as well as changes in provincial funding for undergraduate education make it difficult to fully develop our joint undergraduate initiative with the Faculty of Arts and  Sciences on the St. George campus.  The current era of turmoil related to our neighbor to the South and elsewhere around the world has heightened uncertainties regarding global security and funding for our agenda, and presented challenges, but also opportunities for our goal of increasing the internationalization of our learner community.

Nevertheless, I am confident that the Faculty has the strength, ideas and partnerships to succeed and continue on its trajectory of growth and excellence.

During the next few months, I will be working with many of you to create tools and benchmarks for implementing our strategic plan; communicate more clearly the University’s and School’s budgetary processes; advance the School’s space initiatives, strengthen the School’s management structure, and other tasks that respond to recommendations made in our external review.  We will also be working with our community of students to complete our annual process of Town Hall meetings and responses from the Dean’s Office.

I will share a complete reflection of the last five years in June, but in the meantime, Kudos and thanks to all of you for making all of this progress and our achievements possible.

Warmest regards,

Howard Hu


From:          Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost
Date: January 31, 2017
Re: Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (PDAD&C #57)