Newswise — WASHINGTON, DC—The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) recently named James M. Tielsch, PhD, as Chair of the Department of Global Health. Dr. Tielsch, who will also hold a faculty appointment as professor in the Department, joins SPHHS from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) in Baltimore. At JHSPH he held an appointment as a Professor in the Department of International Health with joint appointments in the Departments of Epidemiology and Ophthalmology. In addition, he served as the Associate Chair for Academic Programs in the Department of International Health.
“I am honored to announce Dr. Tielsch’s appointment as the chair of the Department of Global Health,” said Lynn R. Goldman, MD, MS, MPH, dean of SPHHS. “Dr. Tielsch brings more than 30 years of expertise and a wealth of studies on maternal and child health, ocular diseases and other topics to SPHHS. Under his leadership, the Department will continue to be at the frontlines of public health challenges around the world.”
While at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Tielsch focused his research in two areas, maternal and child health and the epidemiology of blinding eye diseases both in the United States and in developing countries. He served as the Principal Investigator for studies ranging from both adult and pediatric eye disease, to micronutrient malnutrition, to infectious disease and environmental health issues in low resource settings. For many years he served as the lead investigator for a series of population-based studies of ocular disease in east Baltimore including the Baltimore Eye Survey, the Baltimore Nursing Home Eye Survey, and the Baltimore Pediatric Eye Disease Study.
More recently, Dr. Tielsch has focused his efforts on studies of malnutrition, infectious disease, and environmental health among women and children living in low-income countries. For example, he and his colleagues have looked at the impact of providing iron and zinc supplements to preschool children in Zanzibar and Nepal. He’s also researched the benefit of providing newborns in South India with Vitamin A, a valuable nutrient that can help prevent blindness and infections that can cause early death.
Dr. Tielsch was also the Principal Investigator of studies done in rural Nepal showing that hand-washing can reduce the risk of death in newborns and that the use of a simple antiseptic solution for both whole body washing and umbilical cord cleansing can significantly reduce neonatal mortality and serious morbidity. These studies, which highlighted effective ways to lower the high infant mortality rate in places like Nepal, have been published in leading international journals such as The Lancet and the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Dr. Tielsch has also published in a wide variety of prestigious medical journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Ophthalmology, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Dr. Tielsch received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in Seattle with a major in cell and molecular biology. After college he joined the U.S. Peace Corps and served as a tuberculosis control officer in Korea. Later he earned his masters and then a PhD in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University. He is the recipient of many honors including the 2012 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Epidemiology given by the American College of Epidemiology. About the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services:Established in July 1997, the School of Public Health and Health Services brought together three longstanding university programs in the schools of medicine, business, and education and is now the only school of public health in the nation’s capital. Today, more than 1,100 students from nearly every U.S. state and more than 40 nations pursue undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level degrees in public health. http://sphhs.gwu.edu/