Infectious disease epidemiologist Elizabeth Fair, PhD, MPH, has been named director of the UCSF Global Health Sciences (GHS) PhD program, GHS Executive Director Jaime Sepulveda announced Wednesday, June 7.
She takes over on July 1 for Lisa Thompson, RN, PhD, FNP, the program’s initial director, who is stepping down to take a position at Emory University.
“Elizabeth brings a passion for global health, a love for working with students and a keen desire to make a difference in the academic field of global health,” Sepulveda said. “I look forward to working with her to build our program.”
The GHS program launched in January 2016 with its first cohort of five students. A second cohort will begin study in September.
Fair has worked in global health for more than 20 years and has a long history with GHS. As a postdoctoral fellow in 2005, she assisted with the first strategic plan for GHS and served as a member of the original committee designing the MS and PhD curricula. She currently serves as an associate director of the GHS master’s program.
As director, Fair will be responsible for the leadership, development, and implementation of the PhD degree in Global Health Sciences. She will also teach/facilitate the Doctoral Seminar and represent the PhD program as a member of the Graduate Division’s PhD Program Directors Group and as a member of the GHS Leadership Team.
“Global health as an academic discipline is still relatively new. This doctoral program will set a new standard in global health education. Through core competencies and a multidisciplinary curriculum, our students will be well situated to advance the field,” Fair said.
“UCSF is a great scientific institution, and GHS’s PhD program is uniquely positioned to call on our strengths to engage the best students and faculty across our schools,” she added.
Fair developed an interest in Africa early on. By the time she graduated from Harvard with an undergraduate degree in anthropology and African Studies, she had already spent two years studying and working in Kenya, Tanzania, and Eritrea. After a stint at the Harvard Institute for International Development, she spent a year working with the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) in Dhaka where she discovered her passion for working on Tuberculosis (TB). She earned a master’s in public health at Columbia University and then worked for the Centers for Disease Control. She earned a PhD in epidemiology at Stanford before coming to UCSF as a postdoctoral fellow. Her primary appointment at UCSF is in the Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, where she is a member of the UCSF TB research group at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.
“I was interested in global health before it was well defined as an academic field,” Fair said. “Had this program been an option when I was training, I am sure I would have chosen it. I’m delighted to be able to help others navigate their interests within global health, and draw upon the amazing research and educational resources here at UCSF.”
Fair’s research interests include TB, TB/HIV, global health, and implementation/operational research. Her current work focuses on public health interventions for intensified TB case finding in high-burden settings. Dr. Fair has active collaborations in Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Uganda, Bangladesh and Indonesia.