I am writing to inform you that, effective June 30, 2017, I will step down as Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It is always difficult to make such a decision but both President Ron Daniels and I agree that, given the incredibly strong position of our School, now is the time to make this transition.
We have just received a magnificent gift, the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, which provides generous support to devise innovative solutions to the most vexing public health problems facing America. This gift will nearly double both our endowment and the number of endowed professorships. In addition, our School finished last fiscal year solidly in the black and this year our faculty are garnering external support at an exceptional rate. Our research continues to bring public health breakthroughs and lead new fields of study. We now have over 5.5 million registrants in our massive online open courses (MOOCs) and are launching a series of innovative online degree programs in applied public health. Our international collaborations are vibrant and growing and our relationships with our alumni have never been stronger.
Being dean has been the highlight of my professional career and, in every way, an incredible honor and privilege. We are fortunate to have a community of faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends who believe in our mission and work hard to advance it. From day one, I have felt your strong support. I will always be especially grateful for the kindness you showed me and my children when my first wife, Wendy, died suddenly.
Being dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health is the best job in the world but, I have to admit, it can be demanding. Most of any success I may have had is attributable to the love and patient support of my wife, Lucy Meoni. Over the last eight years, she has been a partner with me every step of the way. As an alumna, faculty member and researcher, her deep understanding of our School’s work and her ability to relate to others has made her an invaluable ally in advancing our mission. She enriches every aspect of my life.
All of us have much to do between now and June 30, including continuing to strengthen our School in preparation for the next dean, whom I know will benefit from your support as much as I have. In that regard, we are fortunate to have Ron Daniels as President of the University. Since his arrival, he has had an intuitive understanding of our work and been incredibly supportive of our School and of me personally. I have every confidence that he, and our new Provost, Sunil Kumar will recruit a great dean. And, once they do, I will live every faculty member’s dream and go on sabbatical, after which I will return to the professoriate.
Thank you for making the last 12 years so rewarding. I look forward to working with all of you in the years ahead to accomplish our shared mission of Protecting Health, Saving Lives—Millions at a Time!
Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH ’87