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University of Iowa News Release


March 20, 2008

Susan J. Curry named dean of UI College of Public Health

Susan J. Curry, director of the Institute for Health Research and Policy and professor of health policy and administration in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will become the new dean of the University of Iowa College of Public Health effective Aug. 1. She succeeds James A. Merchant, who will step down from the deanship but remain on the college's faculty.

UI President Sally Mason announced the appointment this morning.

"Dr. Curry's established expertise in behavioral sciences, proven ability to translate research findings into health policy, and collaborative spirit combine to make her an exceptionally gifted leader," said Mason. "I have confidence that these same qualities will enable her to lead our College of Public Health toward continued excellence at the national and international levels. On behalf of the entire university community, I am delighted to extend our warmest welcome to her."

UI Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Lola Lopes praised Curry's attributes and achievements.

"Susan Curry is an immensely talented administrator and public health professional. We are all delighted that she has accepted our offer of the deanship," said Lopes. "Her work on smoking cessation fits particularly well with our university's commitment to lessening the impact of tobacco on Iowa citizens."

Curry said she's honored to join the university community and lead the continued development of its newest collegiate unit.

"I am tremendously impressed by the breadth and depth of scientific accomplishment at the university and its College of Public Health," Curry said. "There is a clear and strong commitment to public health education and to improving the health of the people of Iowa. I also look forward to the excellent opportunities we have to continue the college's many contributions to national and international health."

Curry's extensive research in tobacco includes studies of motivation to quit smoking, randomized trials of promising smoking cessation and prevention interventions, evaluations of the use and cost effectiveness of tobacco cessation treatments under different health insurance plans, and health care costs and utilization associated with tobacco cessation. Her bibliography includes over 180 publications.

Curry earned her doctorate from the University of New Hampshire in 1981, before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington. She moved to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where she was a scientist in the country's first Cancer Prevention Research Unit. From the late 1980s until joining the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in 2001, Curry was professor of health services in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Washington and senior investigator and director at the Center for Health Studies, Group Health Cooperative.

As director of the Institute for Health Research and Policy at UIC, Curry has an outstanding track record of fostering cross-campus collaboration on health research, faculty mentoring, collaborating with colleges and departments for faculty recruitment, and ensuring the intellectual and administrative infrastructure that supports six affiliated centers and programs. The institute has over 100 collaborating faculty from 39 departments, representing 11 colleges. In addition to collaborating faculty, more than 100 academic professionals work at the institute in support of more than 70 research projects.

Curry will be the second dean of the UI College of Public Health, taking over from founding dean James Merchant.

"The University of Iowa is fortunate to have attracted a nationally recognized public health leader of the caliber of Sue Curry," Merchant said. "She brings a well established record of achievement in public health research and policy development that is a particularly good fit for this college. I have every confidence that she will be embraced by our faculty, staff, students, alumni and many stakeholders and that she will lead the college to new levels of distinction in the years ahead."

The UI College of Public Health, established in 1999, consists of five academic departments -- biostatistics; community and behavioral health; epidemiology; health management and policy; and occupational and environmental health -- and 29 multidisciplinary research centers. It is one of 40 accredited schools of public health nationwide. In calendar year 2007, more than 440 students were enrolled in public health degree programs. An additional 500 graduate, undergraduate and certificate students were enrolled in public health coursework.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Public Health Office of Communications and External Relations, 4258 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Lola Lopes, Office of the Provost, 319-335-3565,; Dan McMillan, College of Public Health, 319-335-6835,

PHOTO: A photo of Susan Curry is available at