The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Friday approved Craig H. Blakely, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate dean for academic affairs and research at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, as the new dean of the school.
The HSC-School of Rural Public Health is the first school in the nation to not only train public health professionals about issues pertaining to the urban environment but also to focus on the health of rural, underserved and at-risk populations statewide, nationally and internationally.
“We are excited about the foundation already in place at the Texas A&M Health Science Center as one of the Top 25 accredited schools of public health in the country,” Dr. Blakely said. “It is a personal pleasure to follow in the footsteps of the founding dean, Dr. Ciro Sumaya. I look forward to our continued success and expanding role in meeting the population health needs of our fellow Texans and the global community.”
A professor of health policy and management, Dr. Blakely served as interim dean of the HSC-School of Rural Public Health since Aug. 1. Roderick E. McCallum, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs, was interim dean before Dr. Blakely.
“Dr. Craig Blakely has been a key participant in the creation and growth of the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health,” said Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and vice chancellor for health affairs for the A&M System. “It is with great pleasure and anticipation of excellence and innovation that we welcome him to his new role of dean of the school. Throughout the search process, Craig stood out as an individual who can lead this young school to the next level of recognition among its peers.”
Dr. Blakely focuses on disenfranchised and underserved groups such as pregnant women (particularly those without health care access), juvenile delinquents, substance abusers and rural populations. He has been the principal investigator in grants totaling more than $13 million and published numerous works that include A Pound of Prevention: The Case for Universal Maternity Care in the U.S., which was published by the American Public Health Association and served as an early bible for those advocating universal access to maternity care in the United States in the 1990s.
Dr. Blakely’s research on maternal and child health includes several major statewide studies of immunization and several crosscutting subject areas such as substance abuse prevention, maternal and child health, and community-based change. He has evaluated major initiatives that include a community-based substance abuse prevention program covering a seven-county region, a school-based prevention program targeting at-risk youth, an early state-supported maternal and child health care program providing services to non-U.S. citizens, Medicaid managed care rollouts, and major workers’ compensation reforms in Texas. He has served on numerous review panels, regularly reviews papers for a number of journals and sits on the editorial board of Journal of Primary Prevention.
Dr. Blakely obtained his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois, a Master of Arts degree from Southern Illinois University, a Ph.D. from Michigan State University and a Master of Public Health from The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.
A senior member of the Texas A&M Health Science Center leadership team, the dean works together with the HSC president and vice chancellor for health affairs for the A&M System, the Executive Committee and other HSC colleges. With primary responsibilities for faculty development and student programs, the dean drives the school’s agenda within the HSC and with local, national and international constituencies in the public and private sectors.
The HSC-School of Rural Public Health has developed four master’s and three doctoral degree programs, a distance education program spanning Central and South Texas, and several centers of research excellence.