Announcement – Dean Sten Vermund

October 19, 2021

To the Yale Community,

Earlier this afternoon, Dr. Sten Vermund, dean and Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health, announced that he plans to return to full-time teaching and research as a member of the faculty when his term ends on June 30, 2022. I respect Sten’s decision, and I am grateful that the school and Yale will continue to benefit from his expertise and experience as an internationally recognized investigator and educator in public health.

Understanding that the world needs leaders who can meet the demands of rapidly changing and evolving epidemics and other public health challenges, Sten has focused on amplifying the success of Yale School of Public Health’s faculty. Over the past five years, he has helped the school add around two dozen faculty positions, increase funding from government agencies, and enhance research productivity. The school also has augmented multidisciplinary research programs and initiatives that address social and health disparities, systemic racism, and socioeconomic inequality.

Under Sten’s leadership, YSPH faculty played a major role in enabling the school to respond effectively and quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic when it emerged in 2019. The YSPH community immediately began shaping Yale’s—and the world’s—public health response. YSPH experts in transmission, genetics, vaccines, social behaviors, modeling, health policy, and health equity have not only been at the forefront of scientific discovery, but they have made it a priority to inform institutional and government decision-making and public discourse. From providing guidance on vaccine strategies for low- and middle-income nations to inventing SalivaDirect and collaborating with the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science to monitor sewage for COVID surveillance, the school’s faculty has demonstrated to the world its exceptional commitment and ability to address urgent public health crises.

In addition to Sten’s focus on excellence in research, he has been committed to supporting students, the next generation of public health investigators and practitioners. He has worked with YSPH faculty and staff to revamp the school’s curriculum. He guided the creation of new educational concentrations and tracks, including those in Public Health Modeling, Health Informatics, Climate Change and Health, U.S. Health and Justice, and Maternal and Child Health Promotion. The school also partnered with the Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning in assisting faculty members with their teaching; the success of this collaboration is reflected in annual student ratings for 2020-2021, which were the highest to date.

Sten fostered the development of practice-based learning and public health practice education for students. As a result, the school has increased connections between students and local, state, and global public health experts, and has expanded student experiential learning opportunities and resources. During the pandemic, YSPH faculty extended practical training by recruiting students to assist in contact tracing and to help those in homeless shelters and nursing homes.

For the past five years, even during a global health crisis, Sten has worked intently to enhance the academic environment of the school for faculty, students, and staff. He has restructured and expanded Offices of Academic Affairs; Research; Public Relations; Public Health Practice; and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging to recruit and retain outstanding faculty, students, and staff from diverse backgrounds. He has appointed school leaders to conduct climate analyses and training and to develop pipeline and student engagement programs. He also has promoted the amplification of the accomplishments of faculty and students through traditional and social media.

In the coming weeks, I will start the search process for a successor who will build on all that Sten and YSPH faculty, students, and staff have achieved. I will appoint a search advisory committee that will seek broad input from School of Public Health faculty, students, staff, and alumni. In addition, I will engage a search firm to assist in this process.

In the meantime, please join me in thanking Sten for his contributions to the school, Yale, the field of public health, and the well-being of individuals around the world.


Peter Salovey
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology