The University of Virginia’s Center for Global Health has a new director.
Executive Vice President and Provost John Simon named assistant professor of medicine Dr. Rebecca Dillingham to succeed medical professor Dr. Richard Guerrant.
Guerrant founded the center in 2001, taking a wholly unique approach to addressing diseases of poverty by employing input from multiple disciplines.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to take U.Va.’s Center for Global Health into its second decade,” Dillingham said.
“Dr. Guerrant and his team have been pioneers in this field, and U.Va. has an incredible opportunity to build on the strong foundations of innovative research and global education programs at the center,” she said.
Dillingham said she will work to enhance and expand key, health-related collaborations across Grounds and with the center’s global partners.
“These collaborations will provide unique platforms for innovative research and integrated global educational experiences which contribute to the development of responses to global health challenges and to the development of the global health leaders of the future,” she said.
Guerrant said there is no one better suited to carry forward the work of the center. “It is a tremendous personal thrill to see our Center for Global Health moving forward under Dr. Dillingham’s visionary leadership,” he said.
Guerrant said he knew the first time he met Dillingham that he had found his successor. “One of the greatest possible rewards is to be involved in recruiting, mentoring and following a star colleague as she becomes the model empathetic physician, scholar, teacher, researcher, mentor and articulate leader – a vision I confess to having expressed at our first meeting over a decade ago, when I said ‘You should come here so you can take my job and I can work for you!’”
He said Dillingham’s “impressive vision and mentorship” have helped deepen the work of the center, one of the first trans-University programs in the country.
In addition to naming Dillingham the new center director, Simon also changed the center’s reporting line. Originally reporting to the dean of the School of Medicine, the center will now report to the vice provost for global affairs, currently Jeffrey W. Legro.
“Becca is a dynamic leader who has an unusual ability to walk among schools to build consensus,” Legro said. “I expect the Center for Global Health to be one of our areas of excellence in global research and learning.”
Dillingham joined the faculty in 2006. She earned her master’s in public health from U.Va. in 2007 and graduated summa cum laude from the medical school at the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 1999. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in history and science in 1993 from Harvard College, where she graduated cum laude.
Her research interests include H.I.V medicine in resource-limited settings, including Haiti, and global health education. She has received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Department of Medicine the past two years. Last month, she represented U.Va. at the annual Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York. U.Va. was among others recognized for their partnership with the Rwandan government’s Human Resources for Health Program.