September 21, 2012 by Julia Casciato
Drexel University President John A. Fry announced in an email Sept. 5 that Marla Gold, dean of the School of Public Health, will step down by July 2013. Gold has decided to return to researching and teaching as a member of the faculty.
Gold was appointed interim dean in 2002 and was chosen as permanent dean a year later. During her time in the position, Gold expanded the school in every way she could. One of Gold’s greatest achievements was working to get the school fully accredited by the Council on Education and Public Health for the first time.
“I’m now entering year 11 as dean, and so much has been accomplished that I set out to do. I believe with a new home for the school with the planned renovation of Nesbitt Hall, a solid strategic plan and a cadre of superb faculty and staff, the school is ready for new leadership, new energy and new ideas,” Gold said.
Under Gold’s leadership, 30 full-time renowned faculty members have been recruited to work in each of the school’s four departments, including community health and prevention, environmental and occupational health, epidemiology and biostatistics, and health management and policy.
“As a result of our superb faculty, our research portfolio grew at a remarkable pace, and we now are one of the major schools within the University that contributes to the University’s overall research portfolio and ranking,” Gold said.
The school has added three new doctoral programs and joint degree programs, as well as a variety of online certificates, including one for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health. A minor in public health is now available for undergraduate students, and the school is also working on adding a bachelor of science degree. Additionally, the Drexel Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento now offers an executive master’s degree in public health. Since 2002 the student body has grown from 60 to over 500 students involved in all of the school’s programs.
“Drexel is now known as having one of the most diverse schools of public health in the nation and the most diverse academic unit in Drexel University. The [School of Public Health] was cited twice in commendations during Drexel’s recent Middle States Accreditation process for its diversity, and cited as a model for all of Drexel,” Gold said.
For her final academic year as dean, Gold has already mapped out what needs to be done to further advance the School of Public Health. Her main focus is on the plans for renovating Nesbitt Hall to become the new home of the School of Public Health, as well as the fundraising to go along with it. Work on Nesbitt is scheduled to commence this fall. Additionally, she will be working on the school’s strategic plan for the expansion of the global public health initiative, growing the undergraduate public health program and increasing health research.
“I have enjoyed so many aspects of being dean of the School of Public Health and being part of the leadership team of this great University. It’s hard to describe one particular part that is my favorite over others, but I would say that helping create and grow a fantastic school of public health has led to bright, dedicated, savvy students,” Gold said.
Before taking on leadership as dean, Gold focused much of her research on HIV/AIDS and LGBT health issues. She established the largest comprehensive HIV/AIDS care program in the Greater Philadelphia region called The Partnership. She served as chief of the Division of HIV/AIDS Medicine and vice chair of the Department of Medicine at Hahnemann University.
Gold has been honored with the U.S. Public Service Assistant Secretary of Health Award for outstanding service to persons with HIV/AIDS, the Sisterhood award from the National Commission of Christians and Jews, and the title of Health Care Provider of the Year in Pennsylvania from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In November 2007 she was a recipient of the Women of Distinction award from the Philadelphia Business Journal for her lifelong work in medicine and public health.
Provost Mark Greenberg will form a committee to start a national search for a new dean for the School of Public Health.