As this issue of Yale Medicine was being prepared, we learned that Michael H. Merson, M.D., the Anna M.R. Lauder Professor of Public Health, would step down as dean of public health and chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH), as of December 31, 2004. Brian P. Leaderer, M.P.H. ’71, Ph.D. ’75, the Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Public Health, was named interim dean and chair during a search for a successor to Merson. Nancy H. Ruddle, Ph.D. ’68, the John Rodman Paul Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, will serve as interim deputy dean and vice chair.

Merson came to Yale in 1995 from the World Health Organization in Geneva, where he directed the Global Programme on AIDS. At Yale he continued his efforts to stem the pandemic, forming the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on aids (CIRA), which undertakes research and prevention programs in the United States, Russia, China, India and South Africa.

He has also raised the profile of the public health school and has fostered joint-degree programs with other professional schools at Yale, including nursing, law, management, forestry and environmental studies, and divinity.

After a sabbatical, Merson will return to the public health faculty later this year. He will also continue as director of CIRA.

Leaderer joined the EPH faculty in 1976 and is the principal investigator of studies that examine environmental and genetic factors of asthma in children. Ruddle directs graduate studies in public health. She studies cell trafficking and inflammation, particularly with regard to the lymphotoxin/tumor necrosis factor family. She has been on the Yale faculty since 1975.