Klag to step down as dean of Bloomberg

Physi­cian has headed Johns Hop­kins’ school of pub­lic health for 10 years

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By An­drea K. McDaniels am­c­daniels@balt­sun.com twitter.com/ankwalker

Michael J. Klag has an­nounced that he plans to step down as dean of the Johns Hop­kins Bloomberg School of Pub­lic Health in June af­ter 12 years on the job.

“I do think it is good to change lead­er­ship,” he said Mon­day. “It is good for in­sti­tu­tions to have dif­fer­ent view­points and some­body to come in with new eyes.”

Klag said this was the right time to leave be­cause his se­cond five-year con­tract is end­ing. He’s also 64 and wouldn’t want to serve another full term.

He says he’s leav­ing the school in a good po­si­tion and with new ini­tia­tives on the horizon. More than 10 new re­search cen­ters and in­sti­tutes and 12 en­dowed chairs have been es­tab­lished un­der Klag’s lead­er­ship. The school trains pub­lic health lead­ers around the world and over the in­ter­net. Last month, the school an­nounced the launch of the Bloomberg Amer­i­can Health Ini­tia­tive, which will fo­cus on pub­lic health prob­lems such as drug ad­dic­tion, obe­sity and gun vi­o­lence. The school aims to trans­form the coun­try’s ap­proach t o pub­lic health un­der the new ini­tia­tive, funded by a $300 mil­lion com­mit­ment from phi­lan­thropist, Johns Hop­kins grad­u­ate and for­mer New York mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

“The school is re­ally at a high,” Klag said. “If you want to re­cruit a great suc­ces­sor, now is a great time to do it.”

Klag will re­main at the school and teach and con­duct re­search in the de­part­ments of epi­demi­ol­ogy and health pol­icy man­age­ment. He be­gan his 32-year ca­reer at Johns Hop­kins as a fel­low in gen­eral in­ter­nal medicine in 1984. Be­fore be­com­ing dean, Klag was an in­ter­na­tion­ally known ex­pert on the epi­demi­ol­ogy and pre­ven­tion of heart and kid­ney disease. One of his fo­cus ar­eas was eth­nic health dis­par­i­ties.

He con­tin­ued re­search early in his ca­reer as dean but stopped af­ter his first wife died in 2006 so he could fo­cus on car­ing for his chil­dren, one of whom has autism. He es­tab­lished the Wendy Klag Cen­ter for Autism and De­vel­op­men­tal Dis­abil­i­ties, home to some the na­tion’s largest stud­ies on autism, in honor of his wife.

Klag com­pared choos­ing his most mem­o­rable ac­com­plish­ments as dean to choos­ing which “child you loved the best.” But he said one proud mo­ment was bring­ing Dr. Peter Agre, win­ner of the 2003 No­bel Prize in chem­istry, back to Johns Hop­kins af­ter he got re­cruited away by Duke Univer­sity.

The school’s ad­min­is­tra­tion will con­duct an in­ter­na­tional search for Klag’s suc­ces­sor.

“For more than a decade, Mike has brought ex­em­plary lead­er­ship to the School of Pub­lic Health,” Pres­i­dent Ron­ald J. Daniels and Provost Sunil Ku­mar said in a mes­sage to the univer­sity com­mu­nity an­nounc­ing Klag’s de­ci­sion.

In the mean­time, Klag doesn’t plan to take it easy dur­ing his re­main­ing months on the job. He said there’s lots of work to do set­ting up the Bloomberg Amer­i­can Health Ini­tia­tive.

“I want to put a big bow on this for the next dean of the school,” he said. Michael Klag

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