Mental health biostatistics expert named new dean at U-M School of Public Health

July 19, 2018

ANN ARBOR—The next dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health will be F. DuBois Bowman, a distinguished researcher whose scholarship focuses on improving mental health and neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and depression.

Bowman will become the school’s 12th dean. He will begin a five-year renewable term as dean and professor of biostatistics, with tenure, effective Oct. 15. Bowman follows Cathleen Connell, who has served as the school’s interim dean since September 2017.

Headshot of F. DuBois Bowman“Professor Bowman has a clear vision for public health—robust research, innovative interdisciplinary problem-solving and immersive education for the next generation of practitioners,” said U-M Provost Martin Philbert, who served as dean of the School of Public Health before being named provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “We look forward to the many ways in which his leadership will enrich the school, the university and work in public health around the world.”

Bowman said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the school’s students, faculty and staff toward our collective commitment to improve health for populations and individuals worldwide.

“We live in a time when public health concerns about environmental threats, substance misuse, emerging infections, obesity, aging, mental health, noncommunicable diseases and health care coverage all loom large. As one of the world’s pre-eminent schools of public health, U-M is poised to play a leading role in providing solutions by generating evidence through science, driving policy, education, and engagement at local community, national and global levels.”

Currently, Bowman is the chair and the Cynthia and Robert Citrone-Roslyn and Leslie Goldstein Professor of Biostatistics at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Under his leadership, the department has expanded and refined its education programs, increased grant revenue and made significant gains in philanthropy. He also is a member of the executive committee of the Columbia University Data Science Institute.

Bowman began his career in the academy as an assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. As he rose through the ranks at Emory, becoming a professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics in 2013, he was also a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University in 2000 and a visiting assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University in 2005. From 2007 to 2013, he was the founding director of the Center for Biomedical Imaging Statistics at the Rollins School at Emory, the first center of its kind internationally. Bowman served as president of the Eastern North American Region of the International Biometric Society and is an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association.

His research has helped to reveal brain patterns that reflect disruption from psychiatric diseases and detect biomarkers for neurological diseases. Additionally, his research seeks to determine threats to brain health from environmental exposures, to determine more individualized therapeutic treatments and to optimize brain health in aging populations.

As a principal investigator, Bowman has received seven National Institutes of Health grants. Additionally, he is the co-investigator on an even greater number of federally sponsored grants. Recently, he led research under the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Parkinson’s Disease Biomarker Program, which may have major implications for early detection of Parkinson’s disease and for forecasting disease progression. He also has been an integral collaborator on an international research project led by the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Bowman recognizes the critical need for diversity and has worked to foster it within biostatistics; public health; science, technology, engineering and math fields; and in research careers more generally. He has mentored minority undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty. He also served on advisory boards of NIH programs that target underrepresented minority undergraduate students at historically black colleges and universities, and currently leads two NIH diversity pipeline training programs at Columbia University as a co-principal investigator.

Bowman received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics in 1992 from Morehouse College, where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He earned a Master of Science degree in biostatistics from the University of Michigan in 1995 and a doctoral degree in biostatistics from the University of North Carolina in 2000.