Yale School of Public Health Interim Dean

May 2, 2022

Dear Members of the School of Public Health Community,

The search advisory committee is hard at work identifying candidates who can succeed Dr. Sten Vermund in his role as dean of the Yale School of Public Health. Many of you have already provided input to the committee members and me about the qualities and qualifications we should consider. To those who have not yet done so, I encourage you to send us your suggestions.

As we continue to search for a leader who can build on Dean Vermund’s immense contributions and support your work in the years ahead, we also are planning for the coming transition period. I am pleased to announce that Melinda Pettigrew, deputy dean of the Yale School of Public Health and Anna M. R. Lauder Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases), will serve as the interim dean of the school, effective July 1, 2022. As interim dean, she will have overall responsibility for the school. From working with faculty, staff, and students to define the school’s priorities to collaborating with other university leaders to take necessary steps to transition the school toward independence, she will play a valuable role in setting a strong course for YSPH’s immediate future.

Many of you know Dean Pettigrew well. She has been part of the YSPH community for two decades. A renowned investigator and award-winning educator, she has devoted considerable time to enriching the intellectual environment of the school. She has led efforts to develop distinctive educational programs, first as associate dean of academic affairs (2011-2017) and then as senior associate dean for academic affairs (2017-2022). In these roles, she expanded the academic affairs team, oversaw the development of online education degree and certificate programs, and helped launch multidisciplinary concentrations in U.S. health justice, climate change, global health, and public health modeling. Dean Pettigrew has sustained the alignment between YSPH’s teaching mission and the tremendous research strengths of the school’s faculty, and she has integrated public health practice into the curriculum.

Recently, she led the successful reaccreditation of YSPH through the Council on Education in Public Health. She also has served in many other roles to enhance the academic life of our community, including as the chair of the YSPH Education Committee; as a member of YSPH’s leadership team, strategic planning team, and Appointments & Promotions Committees; and as a member of the Poorvu Center Advisory Board.

An internationally recognized infectious disease epidemiologist, she conducts research on the global health threat of antibiotic resistance. She brings together laboratory research, population-based analysis, and One Health approaches to identify factors that lead to the emergence and transmission of antimicrobial resistant bacteria. A prolific investigator, Dean Pettigrew’s research has been supported by numerous organizations, including the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and private foundations.

Over the past two decades, Dean Pettigrew has demonstrated an enduring commitment to creating an environment where everyone at YSPH can thrive and belong and to increasing the diversity, inclusion, and equity of the field of public health. She has served as a deputy Title IX coordinator for YSPH and as a member of the President’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging. Currently, she is the chair of the Diversity Working Group for the Antibiotic Resistance Leadership Group, a large NIH-funded national network of scientists.

Please join me in thanking Dean Pettigrew for taking on this new role. I also am grateful to her, Dean Vermund, and the school’s faculty, students, and staff for their ongoing commitment to fostering an innovative and welcoming community for public health on campus and for contributing to the health and well-being of so many communities around the world.


Peter Salovey
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology
Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Management, and Sociology