Debas to Step Down as Executive Director of Global Health Sciences

Haile Debas

Haile Debas, MD, chancellor emeritus and dean emeritus of the UCSF School of Medicine, will step down as executive director of Global Health Sciences (GHS), which he founded in 2003.

Debas plans to focus his energies on important strategic programs and activities. He will continue to play an active role in GHS and as Senior Global Health Advisor.

UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, praised Debas’s extraordinary leadership of GHS and UCSF in a recent email message to the campus community.

“Under Dr. Debas’ stewardship, over the past seven years and in over 28 countries, GHS has developed an impressive array of programs spanning education, research, capacity building, training and action,” she said. “GHS has also become widely recognized for its leadership here in California and the US through the creation of the UC-wide Global Health Institute and the North American Consortium of Universities in Global Health. We are extremely proud of these and other impressive achievements that have positioned UCSF as a strong leader and contributor to the field of global health.”

Richard Feachem, PhD, has accepted an interim appointment as executive director of GHS effective Sept. 1, 2010 for a period of up to 18 months. “I am delighted that Sir Richard has agreed to serve in this interim capacity,” Desmond-Hellmann said.

During that time, UCSF will conduct an international search to identify a leading figure in global health to take UCSF GHS forward during the next decade. 

Feachem has said that he will not be a candidate in this search and selection process, but will continue to serve as director of the Global Health Group within GHS while holding the interim appointment.

Feachem is former dean of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Director for Health Nutrition and Population at the World Bank, Founding Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and Under Secretary General of the United Nations.

Since his return to UCSF in 2007, Feachem has done an outstanding job in building the Global Health Group at GHS and working with Debas to promote the broader agenda of global health at UCSF.

Debas has been a longtime leader of UCSF, serving as chair of the Department of Surgery, chancellor and dean of the School of Medicine.

“In numerous other ways,” the chancellor said, Debas “has provided service to UCSF that is second to none. His contributions have been widely acknowledged through awards and prizes, both national and international. He is a jewel in the crown of UCSF, and I am proud and honored to work with him. I am delighted that he will be continuing to devote his vision, energy and charm to the cause of global health at UCSF.”

Debas is internationally recognized for his contributions to academic medicine and is widely consulted on issues associated with global health. A native of Eritrea, Debas received his MD from McGill University and completed his surgical training at the University of British Columbia.

Related Links:

Global Health Sciences

Haile Debas Biography, A History of UCSF

Black Caucus Honors Longtime UCSF Leader, UCSF Diversity website
July 29, 2008