Stefano Bertozzi MD is considered a bold choice to lead the UC Berkeley School of Public Health through a period of great change in public and global health.
My home state of California really, really lucked out. Stefano Bertozzi, MD, is the new Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Stef (he told me to call him that) trained as a physician and a health economist. And then he traveled the world, working in many different public health roles – including 11 years in Mexico evaluating the effectiveness of different public health programs. Because of these first-hand experiences, he understands the complexities of what it takes to increase access and improve health in under-resourced areas of the world.
Then, he was recruited to the Gates Foundation [dream job!!] where he ran the HIV/AIDS and TB programs. He also oversaw a portfolio of grants in HIV vaccine research. He represented the Foundation on the board of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB, and Malaria. He also serves on Scientific Advisory Boards for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDs Relief, the NIH Ofice of AIDS research and the World Health Organization. [whew!]
Breaking down silos
What is so exciting about this conversation with Stef is his enthusiasm for bringing together the amazing resources of UC Berkeley – an amazing world class university and, if I can brag, my undergraduate and graduate school alma mater. In the video, Stef describes how he engages with departments of biotechnology, IT, bioengineering, city and regional planning, journalism, and school of public policy at UCB.
It is the type of holistic thinking that is needed to transform US healthcare from a narrow, silo’d, fee-for-service, protect my turf mentality to one that recognizes that health is so much more complicated than those narrow ways of thinking. To help everyone attain “health” we need to make it easier for folks to do the “right thing” instead of the wrong. We need to help people integrate healthy behaviors across a broad spectrum of human activities into their daily lives in a way that is sustainable. And, to do that we need to collaborate with many different industries not typically invited to sit at the healthcare table (think agriculture, food, automotive, media and more). Towards the end of our conversation, Stef talks specifically about the importance of working together with the food industry as we seek to address the epidemic of obesity and associated Type 2 diabetes.
As you watch this engaging video of Stef Bertozzi, MD sharing his vision, I think you will agree with Michael Broder who wrote in his article for UC Berkeley News Center that “Bertozzi is considered a bold choice to lead the school through a period of great change in public and global health.”
I am all for bold choices and strong Deans.