The University announced Friday that Dr. Michael Merson, founding director of the Duke Global Health Institute, will step down June 30, 2017 after 11 years in his position.
Merson, who is also the Wolfgang Joklik professor of global health, became director of the DGHI in 2006. Under his leadership, the institute has become internationally renowned, with research collaborations in nearly 40 countries on topics ranging from emerging infectious diseases, maternal, adolescent and child health, cardiovascular diseases and obesity, cancer, mental health and environmental health.
“The Institute has contributed to the University’s commitment to bring the fruits of academic inquiry to bear on real-world problems and has been an integral part of Duke’s efforts to become a leading global university with the understanding that global includes local … all in the spirit of collaboration and innovation,” Merson wrote in a message to colleagues, according to a Duke Today release.
Since its founding in 2006, the DGHI has raised almost $34 million in gift income and pledges, and last year received a $20 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the program's educational initiatives and combat worldwide health challenges.
The undergraduate program, only three years old, is now home to more than 300 undergraduates pursuing a major or minor in global health, and the masters program welcomed its largest class this Fall.
Merson formerly served as director of the WHO Global Program on AIDS, Yale University School of Medicine's first dean of public health and chairman of the department of epidemiology and public health at Yale. With his expertise in global health, he has advised for UNAIDS, WHO, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, World Bank, Doris Duke Foundation, World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“When Duke attracted Mike to be the founding director of the Duke Global Health Institute, he came with broad expertise and a distinguished record of leadership,” President Richard Brodhead said in the release. “In addition, Mike’s practical intelligence and superb organizational skills allowed him to turn the dream of Global Health into a compelling institutional reality, a program that has become a signature of Duke’s interdisciplinary strengths and commitment to real-world problem solving.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Merson was the vice chancellor for Duke-National University of Singapore Affairs. Merson no longer serves in that position. The Chronicle regrets the error.
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