Public Health dean resigns

Charles Mahan is stepping down as dean for the College of Public Health after more than six years in the position. Mahan said stress-related health problems was one reason for his decision. He also said it’s time for the college to find someone new.

“I really feel like I have brought the college along as greatly as I could have,” Mahan said.

Robert Daugherty, dean for the College of Medicine and vice president for Health Sciences, will appoint a committee to find a replacement. Mahan said he thinks the process will take between eight and 10 months, and he will continue to serve as dean for the College of Public Health until his replacement is named, a chore he said shouldn’t be too difficult.

“I agreed to stay on until they found someone,” Mahan said. “Our college is really well-known nationally and should attract a variety of candidates.”

Phil Marty, executive associate dean for the College of Public Health, said the college is losing a valuable entity in Mahan.”We are losing someone who has a tremendous understanding of public health, someone who has dedicated his life to the improvement of public health,” Marty said.

Marty was interim dean for the College of Public Health in 1994 before Mahan’s arrival in 1995. He said at that time, the college was just coming into its own, and Mahan’s arrival helped the program grow.

“His leadership came at a very opportune time,” Marty said. “We needed some good leadership so we could make it to the next level, and he provided just that.”

Mahan said a more academic dean would better serve the college, but Marty said he disagrees because Mahan, a physician, was able to identify more with students he was working with.

“Having a dean with a medical backround can be a help to the college,” he said.

While dean, Mahan helped bring in record funds for the college in research and developmental programs. The college earned $21 million in grants last year in contrast to $4 million in 1995.In addition to bringing in money, Mahan was instrumental in the configuration of a nationally recognized Distance Learning Network. With USF housing the only College of Public Health in the state, the program was developed to help students who couldn’t pursue an education in Tampa earn an interdisciplinary master’s of public health degree.

“The program was widely successful,” Mahan said. “All can’t travel to Tampa to earn an education.”

Between five and 600 students have gone through the program, with the first graduate getting a degree in 1998. Mahan said he is proud of the program, which offers more than 20 distance learning sites statewide in addition to two international sites in Venezuela and Belize.

“The program has helped bring the knowledge of our superb professors to more people,” he said.

Other accomplishments attributed to Mahan include the Lawton and Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies. The center, still under construction until December, serves as a forum for research, policy formulation and analysis, and training and outreach.

Prior to his tenure at USF, Mahan was a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Florida for 20 years and also held the position of Florida state health officer from 1988 to 1995.Mahan will continue to teach in the College of Medicine and the College of Public Health, and he said that he can still be an asset to the medical community as he can use his experience to help secure more research funding.

“Now that I have done administration, I think I can be a help to the younger faculty members looking to obtain research grants,” he said.

Contact Ryan Meehanat