Indian-American physician takes over as Dean of Brown University School of Public Health

Dr. Ashish Jha (Photo: Twitter)

Dr. Ashish K. Jha, former director of Harvard Global Health Institute, started his new job as the Dean of Brown University School of Public Health on September 1.

An accomplished physician, health policy researcher and global health advocate, Dr. Jha is often in the news talking about the COVID-19 pandemic with the likes of Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Jha’s move was decided back in February when Brown President Christina H. Paxson and Provost Richard M. Locke sent an email to School of Public Health students, faculty and staff.

“Dr. Jha is an accomplished scholar, educator, academic leader and global health advocate who is committed to advancing the University’s mission to address pressing societal issues through exceptional interdisciplinary research, teaching and service,” noted by Paxson and Locke in the press release. “We look forward to working closely with Dr. Jha as he assumes this critical role,” they added.

Dr. Jha is succeeding Bess Marcus, who stepped down from the position this summer as announced in December 2019. As dean, Dr. Jha will oversee the School of Public Health’s academic departments, research centers, doctoral and master’s programs, and undergraduate concentrations.

According to Paxson and Locke as noted in the press release, “His background as a practitioner providing care for individual patients, a scholar focused on national and global public health systems, and a global health advocate engaged on major issues such as the impact of climate change on public health, makes him an ideal leader to advance academic excellence and provide strategic direction for the school.”

Dr. Jha’s research focuses on improving the quality of health care systems with a specialized focus on how national policies impact care.

He has led some of the seminal work comparing the performance of the U.S. health system to those of other high-income countries to better understand why the U.S. spends more but often achieves less in population health.

Dr. Jha took to Twitter on August 31, his last day as the director of Harvard Global Health Institute.  He reminisced about his years at Harvard, thanking his friends and mentors for the years of guidance and help.

“Leaving during the pandemic is weird. But I’m excited to start at Brown,” he tweeted.

In the press release, Dr. Jha said, “The most significant public health problems of our time demand a multi-disciplinary approach, and faculty and students at Brown live that in addressing major challenges.”

Brown University, Jha noted, is also “deeply embedded” in Rhode Island’s communities.

“The fact is, as Brown demonstrates, academic institutions function best when they partner with public health agencies and individuals to test ideas. It’s not a standard model for every university but it is for Brown, and that’s part of what makes me so enthusiastic about this new and important opportunity to be part of a community making a difference, locally and globally.”

He has published over two hundred papers in prestigious journals.

Dr. Jha earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University in 1992, received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1997 and then trained in Internal Medicine at the University of California in San Francisco.

He completed his General Medicine fellowship at Brigham & Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School and received his master of public health in 2004 from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

He has led groundbreaking research around Ebola and is now on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response.




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