University of Minnesota School of Public Health Professor Michael Osterholm was awarded a McKnight Presidential Chair in Public Health by University President Eric Kaler on Tuesday.
The students and faculty of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health were notified of the award by a letter from School of Public Health Dean John Finnegan.
Finnegan’s letter noted that the McKnight Presidential Chair is one of the university’s top honors and Osterholm is the first recipient from the School of Public Health. The chair acknowledges the contributions of faculty members who have set themselves and their schools apart in terms of research, public engagement and education.
"One characteristic has distinguished Mike’s career from its earliest days: he has a gift for informing and educating the media and his fellow citizens about the important dimensions of public health science, preparedness, prevention and health promotion," Finnegan said in the letter. "His straight talk on subjects such as influenza, bioterrorism and pandemic preparedness has earned him a global role as advisor and consultant to the highest levels of WHO, the NIH, FDA, Department of Defense and CDC."
Osterholm graduated from the School of Public health twice and began a career in the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) as the state epidemiologist in 1975. Over the years, Osterholm and his team have helped MDH stand out as one of the best health departments in the country – highlighted by the CDC and other federal health institutions.
Osterholm taught as a part-time faculty member in the School of Public Health for three decades, until Sept. 10, 2001, when he joined the school faculty as a tenured full professor. He was also named director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.