In a message to the School of Medicine, Dean Talmadge E. King, Jr., MD, announced that Robert Hiatt, MD, PhD, intends to step down as chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics on Sept. 30, 2016, after 10 years of service. He will remain on the faculty and act as interim chair until a new chair is selected.
Dr. Hiatt was appointed co-chair of the department in 2006 and became the sole chair in 2010. Under his leadership, the department has continued to grow and expand the scope of its expertise. From 35 primary and 97 affiliate faculty in 2006, the department has grown to 57 primary and 123 secondary and affiliate faculty in 2016. He developed the new PhD program in Epidemiology and Translational Sciences, which has been highly successful in attracting top students and promises to take the department into its next stage of evolution.
While continuing its strengths in clinical epidemiology, musculoskeletal, cancer and genetic epidemiology, the department has expanded into advanced epidemiological methods, social and environmental epidemiology, studies of aging and cognitive decline, spatial epidemiology, demography and global health. He has been spearheading the incorporation of more epidemiology and biostatistics through the lens of population health sciences in the new Bridges Curriculum. In addition, Dr. Hiatt championed efforts to move the department back onto campus where it is now centrally located at Mission Bay, adjacent to both the basic sciences and the Medical Center where it can play a key role in the emerging fields of data science, transdisciplinary, team science and an increased focus on population health science. Dr. Hiatt has also been the associate director for Population Science of the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center since 2003 and will continue in this role.
During his tenure as chair he served as the president of the American Society for Preventive Oncology and is a past president of the American College of Epidemiology. He currently serves as a member of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the National Academy of Science.