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Office of the Dean

A Legacy of Leadership in Public Health
Photo by Mara Lavitt
Interim Dean Melinda Pettigrew

From its origins as one of the nation’s first accredited schools of public health to its current standing as one of the top public health schools in the country, the Yale School of Public Health has always been a leader and force for innovation. This proud tradition continues under the leadership of Interim Dean Melinda Pettigrew, a renowned investigator and award-winning educator whose commitment to scholarship, research, and public health practice will drive the school’s success as it begins its historic transition to a self-supporting independent graduate school at Yale.

In a career spanning two decades at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH), Dean Pettigrew, PhD ’99, has been instrumental in enriching and expanding the school’s educational programs, first as associate dean of academic affairs (2011-2017), then as senior associate dean for academic affairs (2017-2022), and most recently as deputy dean of YSPH. Under Dean Pettigrew’s stewardship, YSPH launched a new track in maternal and child health promotion as well as multidisciplinary concentrations in U.S. health justice, climate change, and public health modeling that provide students with the critical skills and knowledge they need to address the most pressing public health issues facing the world today. The school also launched new online degree and certificate programs, making it easier for students to access and learn from Yale’s world-renowned scholars and scientists. A popular and innovative Executive MPH program blends comprehensive online education with in-person leadership and management training on the Yale campus, creating a unique and powerful educational experience for busy professionals seeking a strong public health education and advanced public health training in their area of interest. A strong proponent of collaboration and innovation, Dean Pettigrew also fostered new partnerships between YSPH’s academic community and public health and community organizations that broadened student opportunities to apply their skills through immersive internships and real-world training programs.

An internationally recognized infectious disease epidemiologist, Dean Pettigrew is also the school’s Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases). Her research centers on the molecular epidemiology of infectious diseases, particularly as it pertains to the growing global public health threat of antibiotic resistance. She is currently utilizing next-generation sequence technologies and a one-health approach to examine the complex relationships between the microbiome, antibiotic exposure, and risk of colonization and infection due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In recognition of her outstanding research, Dean Pettigrew serves on the Steering and Executive Committees for the Antibiotic Resistance Leadership Group (ARLG), an association of more than 100 leading experts working together to combat the antibacterial resistance crisis and improve patient care. She also serves as chair of the ARLG’s Diversity Working Group, where she leads efforts to implement and integrate principles of diversity, access, equity, and inclusion throughout the ARLG.

Creating communities where individuals can thrive within a supportive environment that promotes diversity, belonging, inclusion, and equity is a foundational principle of Dean Pettigrew’s approach to leadership. She has completed a fellowship from the prestigious Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program for women and was a Public Voices Thought Leaders Fellow. At YSPH, Dean Pettigrew has served as deputy Title IX coordinator and as a member of the President’s Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Yale.

Since its founding, the Yale School of Public Health has distinguished itself as an institution known for its leadership, innovation, strong sense of community, and collaborative environment. Today, YSPH carries forth that mission by aligning students’ interest in social justice, eliminating health inequities, and improving the world around us with all that Yale University’s robust resources have to offer. It is a unique approach reflected in the school’s brand - “The Passion of You. The Promise of Yale.” Melinda Pettigrew brings the best of these attributes into her role as interim dean of YSPH as she helps educate and train the next generation of public health leaders and guides the school into the next stage of its proud and distinguished history.