President Bollinger announced in an email today that Lisa Rosen-Metsch will be the new Dean of the School of General Studies. She is an alumna of the joint program between the School of General Studies and the Jewish Theological Seminary and currently the Chair of the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health.

Rosen-Metsch’s academic concentration is HIV prevention among populations with substance use disorders. Her research has influenced national policy and she has been published more than 180 times. (All peer-reviewed, of course.) At Mailman, she has advocated for looking at public health not just as a medical issue, but also as a social, cultural, economical, and political one.

Dean Awn left big shoes to fill, and only time will tell if Rosen-Metsch will be up for the challenge.

Bollinger’s email is below.

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

I am writing to announce the appointment of Lisa Rosen-Metsch, currently the Stephen Smith Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, as the next Dean of the School of General Studies.  The School is, of course, unique in higher education, and as an alumna of the joint program between General Studies and Jewish Theological Seminary, Lisa knows it well.  Following her time at Columbia, she completed her doctoral studies at the University of Florida.

Lisa is an internationally recognized scholar in the prevention of HIV among populations with substance use disorders.  Her research has helped to re-shape national policy for the care and treatment of HIV, including through the design and testing of new strategies for expanding the reach of testing and the level of engagement of vulnerable populations.  One current project focuses upon implementing and testing a mobile HIV treatment and prevention clinic to serve low income neighborhoods in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Her pioneering research in the field has resulted in more than 180 peer-reviewed publications.  During Lisa’s time as Chair of the Sociomedical Sciences Department, she advocated locating public health within social, cultural, economic, historical, and political contexts.  She presently serves on the executive committee of the Center for Justice, an interdisciplinary initiative dedicated to refocusing the criminal justice system on prevention and healing.

I want to take yet another opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to Dean Peter Awn, for his extraordinary and longstanding commitment to the School of General Studies.  With his typical generosity, he agreed to stay on as dean beyond his planned departure so that we could take the time needed to find a worthy successor.  I also want to thank the members of the search committee, my co-chair David Madigan, Executive Vice President for Arts and Sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and all those whose views contributed to this announcement, including the students and alumni who have provided invaluable guidance during the process.  We are fortunate to have Professor Lisa Rosen-Metsch join our outstanding group of University deans.


Lee C. Bollinger