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Celebrating the Deanship of

Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH ’87

Dean Klag

To do this job for 12 years has been a gift. I’ve loved every minute, but it was time to pass the gift on. I want to leave the School in the best shape possible to empower the next dean to take the School in the directions that she or he thinks are important.”

— Dean Michael J. Klag

After 12 years of inspiring and dedicated leadership of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dean Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH ’87, is stepping down as dean. 

Read Dean Klag’s Farewell Letter

An internationally known expert on the epidemiology and prevention of heart and kidney disease when he became the Bloomberg School’s 10th dean, Klag brought to the position a rare combination of strengths: a command of national and global health issues, a passionate commitment to public health education and an interdisciplinary spirit.

Building on the success of his most recent predecessors—Alfred Sommer and the late D.A. Henderson—and with their strong support, Klag guided the School to unprecedented growth across a range of categories and continued to elevate the School as a pacesetting institution of global influence and impact.

Prior to his appointment as Bloomberg School dean, Klag, a 33-year member of the University community, had spent 21 years at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he held the appointment of David M. Levine Professor of Medicine, and served in key clinical, administrative and research positions—including vice dean for Clinical Investigation.

Klag has served as board Chair (2011-2012) and Chair-Elect (2008-2010) of the Association of Schools of Public Health, now the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. During his tenure, the Association expanded its membership eligibility to schools outside of North America and welcomed public health programs as members. 

In 2013, he earned the James D. Bruce Memorial Award from the American College of Physicians for contributions in preventive medicine. He received the 2004 Champion of Public Health Award from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

A clear philosophy and vision charted the course of Klag’s leadership: “My intent was always to facilitate the work of our faculty and staff in carrying out our mission of protecting health and saving lives—millions at a time. Growth for growth’s sake was never an explicit goal, our mission is our focus” he said.

Confronted by deep cuts to government-funded science research in real dollars during his tenure as dean, Klag led successful initiatives to secure philanthropic support for the School’s lifesaving work.

And he made the world’s best public health education accessible to a new global audience by growing the School’s existing online educational platforms and by partnering with Coursera to develop massive online open courses (MOOCs). In just over four years, enrollment in the School’s MOOCs surpassed 5.2 million.

During Klag’s deanship:


Increase of Full-Time Faculty


Revenue Growth


Enrollment Increase


Increase of Student Scholarship Funding


Increase in Number of Endowed Professorships
(17 to 68)

$2 Million

Growth of Federal Research Funding

$1.3 Billion+

Total of Philanthropic Gifts

Klag will leave the deanship having achieved substantial growth in global collaborations and strategic alliances, student enrollment, online learning, faculty recruitment, philanthropic giving, research centers, alumni engagement and School facilities.

It became evident that, given the increase in NIH funding, the better financial status of the School, the vibrant state of our educational programs and the innovation throughout the institution, it was the right time. I think that the School’s arguably in the best shape ever.”

— Dean Michael J. Klag

Following a sabbatical, he will join the faculty, with appointments in the departments of Epidemiology and Health Policy and Management.