SPH Dean retires, Interim Dean named
August 27, 2015 • 2015, News
Richard S. Kurz, PhD, Dean of the UNTHSC School of Public Health (SPH), will retire on August 31, after leading the SPH and serving as tenured Professor of Health Management and Policy for the last eight years. He will continue as an adjunct faculty member following retirement to complete several projects.
“Retirement is a decision my family and I have been considering for some time,” he said. “Over the last eight years, I have been very fortunate to work with an outstanding team of public health faculty and staff, and we have built a foundation for continued progress in the future. Our public health faculty, students, alumni and staff are making a difference in communities both locally and around the world.”
“As always, I send thanks to everyone I have worked with, both in and outside the school, for your support and commitment, and I hope you will continue to advance the momentum that we started,” Dr. Kurz said.
Dr. Kurz retires after a lengthy career in academics and community service. He has served as Chair of the National Board of Public Health Examiners, as a Commissioner on the Accreditation for Healthcare Management Education, as Chair of the Association of University Programs in Health Administration, and on advisory boards and task forces for the CDC and Veterans Administration.
He has assisted the Texas Department of State Health Services with the accreditation of health departments and was recognized in the Dallas Business Journal’s “2013 Who’s Who in Health Care—25 People Who Are Changing the Industry in North Texas.” He received Texas Public Health Association’s 2013 President’s Award and the 2012 Healthcare Hero award from the Fort Worth, Texas, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and United Healthcare.
“We greatly appreciate Dr. Kurz’ leadership and vision,” said Thomas Yorio, PhD, UNTHSC Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.
“Under his leadership, the school launched a number of successful initiatives, including a Master of Health Administration program, a new doctorate program, online programs and the Texas Prevention Institute. Dr. Kurz has also been very active in leading community collaborations to study and solve some of our most pressing health issues, such as infant mortality.”
As a national search is conducted, Dennis Thombs, PhD, FAAHB, will serve as interim Dean of the SPH.
He has served as Professor and Chair of the school’s Department of Behavioral and Community Health for the last five years.
He is also Director of the school’s Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program.
Dr. Thombs, a past President of the American Academy of Health Behavior, is the author of Introduction to Addictive Behaviors, now in its fourth edition.
His research on addictive behavior has been supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute of Mental Health and U.S. Department of Education.
He has authored 80 articles in peer-reviewed national and international journals.