Hand, first to hold permanent role, to start in August

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Gregory A. Hand, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate dean for research and practice at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, has been named the founding dean of the West Virginia University School of Public Health.
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WVU Health Sciences Chancellor Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., who made the appointment, said, “Dr. Hand is an experienced public health scientist, educational administrator, and civic leader. We are very happy to have him at WVU.”

Hand currently oversees the Arnold School’s offices of Research, Public Health Practice, and Information Technology. He is a professor of exercise science and is the principal investigator for the South Carolina Public Health Training Center. Hand’s first priority upon his arrival will be to lead the process of obtaining the School’s initial accreditation from the Council on Education in Public Health.

“West Virginia’s health challenges are many, and our young School of Public Health is quickly establishing itself as a research and outreach leader through a commitment to reversing discouraging trends,” said WVU President E. Gordon Gee.  “Dr. Hand’s strong and enthusiastic dedication to public health will greatly benefit the School, our University, and the people of our state.”

Hand earned his doctorate in physiology and neurobiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Moss Heart Center in Dallas and went on to earn his master’s in public health while a faculty member at the University of South Carolina.

Hand’s research has focused on physiological, metabolic, and psychological changes that occur with physical activity and exercise. He has published more than 100 articles and book chapters and wrote the physical activity recommendations for people living with HIV/AIDS. His work has been funded at over $21 million by federal agencies, including the NIH and HRSA, as well as by foundations and corporate sources.

Hand currently co-chairs the South Carolina Public Health Consortium, a partnership between the University of South Carolina and the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, and serves on the Board of Directors for the South Carolina Research Foundation.

“As we move to the next phase of the establishment to the School, I would like to express my profound gratitude to Dr. Jeffrey H. Coben, who has served as interim dean for more than a year, and to Dr. Alan Ducatman, who lead the organizational effort to establish the School and also served as its interim dean,” said Dr. Colenda.

Colenda also praised the work of the WVU search committee, led by Arthur Ross, M.D., M.B.A., WVU School of Medicine dean, in conducting a rigorous and successful national search for the right leader for WVU’s newest school.

Hand’s first day in the dean’s office will be August 16.
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For more information: Leigh Limerick, Communication Specialist, 304-293-7087
lal: 06-25-14