Date: April 7, 2021
TO: The School of Global Public Health Community
FROM: President Andrew Hamilton and Provost Katherine Fleming

It requires an extraordinary person to shape and nurture a new school, to have the mix of vision, drive, and know-how necessary to build a good idea into a great reality. NYU has been fortunate to have that in Cheryl Healton, who joined NYU in 2012 and, as founding dean of our School of Global Public Health, helped make it into the excellent school it is today.

Cheryl recently came to us to tell us of her wish to step down as dean and return to the faculty following a sabbatical. Typically, she did so in a way that puts the GPH first — giving us some months to get started on finding her successor before she leaves the deanship at the end of the 2021-22 academic year.

Cheryl came to NYU after a high-profile career in public health advocacy, research, and education, most notably as president and CEO of Legacy. Her work there — particularly in preventing teen smoking and smoking cessation — made her among the most prominent and effective anti-smoking advocates nationally, and Legacy’s public health communications stood out for their quality and effectiveness.

She came to NYU at a moment when the then-Exec. Vice President for Health, Bob Berne, was bringing faculty with an interest in public health together to form an institute, and she saw in that effort the possibility of influencing the field of public health and its next generation of leaders. And in the eight years since, she has compiled an admirable record of successes: Cheryl has not only developed GPH from an institute into a school of the University, she has secured it a physical home, achieved accreditation for the school, and made GPH a prominent source of public health information; been a champion of research and expanded research funding; recruited top faculty; made diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority; substantially increased applicants; and added doctoral-level programs, to name few of her many achievements. As a member of the University’s Senior Leadership team, she has been an active and valued contributor to our conversations about University issues, especially during this past year of the COVID pandemic.

Given NYU’s global presence and its strength in so many areas of healthcare, public health was a natural area of scholarly strength for us. No one had a more important hand in making that a reality than Cheryl. For all the foregoing reasons and so many more, we ask you to join us in thanking Cheryl, conveying our collective admiration for all she has done, and wishing her well.

We will be back in touch with information about the process for selecting a successor for Dean Healton.