Megan Ranney MPH ’10, deputy dean of Brown’s School of Public Health, will step down on July 1, according to a Jan. 31 press release from Brown. Ranney will become dean of the Yale School of Public Health.
“We are in a moment of tremendous public health challenges, whether it’s COVID or firearm injury,” Ranney told The Herald. “I’m excited … to grow (YSPH) to help meet this moment.”
“It felt like the right time for me to take a leap,” Ranney added. “It provides a really unique opportunity to lead in a different way.”
“Megan has contributed so much to Brown and to Rhode Island—through her role as an emergency department physician, her scholarship and advocacy to prevent firearm injuries, her work on digital health, and her leadership within the School of Public Health,” President Christina H. Paxson P '19 said. “With her extraordinary leadership and vision, Megan will have a positive impact on public health in new ways in her role at Yale."
As dean of YSPH, Ranney will spearhead the school’s financial and administrative planning as it becomes a self-sufficient, independent school from the Yale School of Medicine, a process initiated last February. When the process was announced, Yale pledged $100 million for YSPH’s endowment in addition to promising to match up to $50 million more raised in the next five years, according to a statement from Yale’s Office of the President.
Ranney, as dean, will have “autonomous responsibility” for YSPH’s budget, according to the statement. Yale created a search committee last February following the previous dean’s departure in October 2021.
“Whenever you have schools going through transitions the way the Yale School of Public Health is, you want a leader who is creative, who knows how to think outside the box, who solves problems,” said Ashish Jha, dean of Brown's SPH, currently on leave to serve as the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator. “There are very few people who can really think creatively in a way that Megan can.”
It’s a “really exciting time” to lead the school into financial independence alongside YSPH faculty, Ranney said. “It was pretty clear that this was an opportunity to lead change in public health in a different way,” she said.
Ranney first “engaged” with Yale’s search committee during the summer of 2022, but decided against changing jobs for “personal reasons,” she said. Over the holidays, the search committee approached Ranney again, and the hiring process progressed quickly from there.
Yale President Peter Salovey described Ranney as an “internationally recognized public health leader, investigator, advocate, and clinician-scientist” in an email to the Yale community Tuesday morning. “She brings to Yale a distinguished track record of driving innovations in public health teaching, research and practice.”
“Yale made a brilliant choice,” Jha said. “It's obviously a loss for Brown, but it's really good for public health, to have people like her in leadership positions.”
“Whenever you have schools going through transitions the way the Yale School of public health is, you want a leader who is creative, who knows how to think outside the box, who solves problems,” he added “There are very few people who can really think creatively in a way that Megan can.”
A practicing emergency physician, Ranney arrived at Brown 19 years ago for her medical residency, and has been on faculty since 2008. She completed her master’s in public health at Brown in 2010, and is currently the Warren Alpert Endowed Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. As deputy dean at Brown SPH, one of the school’s highest-ranking administrative positions, Ranney oversees academic affairs, as well as research enterprise and community engagement.
“Megan has been a tireless advocate for patients, students, fellow faculty and medical practitioners — and for advancing creative ideas and approaches to public health,” said Ronald Aubert, interim dean of Brown SPH, in Brown’s press release. “She’s been a champion for the mission of the School of Public Health, and we’re grateful for the extensive impact she’s had on our community.”
Ranney is an “extraordinary public health leader,” Jha said. “She’s done extraordinary work, both nationally on the pandemic, on gun violence, but also within the school, … building up our academic capabilities and launching new academic programs.“
Although leaving Brown is bittersweet, the position was “too exciting to pass up,” Ranney said. She hopes to continue practicing emergency medicine in her new role.
“My commitment always, since before I even got to Brown, has been to transform the health of communities,” she said.
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Haley Sandlow is a section editor covering science and research as well as admissions and financial aid. She is a junior from Chicago, Illinois, studying English and French.