Wehby Named Colloton Chair in Health Management and Policy

The College of Public Health has appointed George Wehby, professor of health management and policy, as the John W. Colloton Chair in Health Management and Policy. The appointment will begin on July 1, 2020.

George Wehby and Edith Parker at the 2019 Distinguished Faculty LectureWehby is an internationally recognized scholar in health economics and health services research with a focus on the social determinants of health, especially child and maternal health. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed articles in top tier scientific journals and leads an active research program, including currently serving as principal investigator on grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His work examines socioeconomic, health care, and policy determinants of health, health and socioeconomic inequalities, long-term effects of early life conditions on health and human capital, and genetic influences on health and health care use. His collaborative research portfolio includes partnerships with colleagues and researchers across a wide range of social science and health science disciplines.

Wehby, who also directs the Department of Health Management and Policy’s doctoral and M.S. programs, teaches at both the graduate and undergraduate level in the College of Public Health. He developed the undergraduate public health course in Health Economics and has been consistently recognized for successfully mentoring both graduate students and junior faculty. He received the College of Public Health Outstanding Teaching Award in 2013.

“Dr. Wehby has a tremendous research and teaching record which embodies the spirit of the John W. Colloton Chair in Health Management and Policy,” noted College of Public Health Dean Edith Parker. “He is extremely worthy of this distinguished position and I have full confidence that he will continue to make pioneering contributions to the field of health services research.”

Wehby earned his Master of Public Health degree from American University of Beirut, followed by his Doctor of Philosophy in Health Management and Policy with a concentration in Health Economics from the University of Iowa in 2006. He joined the College of Public Health faculty as an assistant professor in 2008 and attained the rank of full professor with tenure in 2017. He holds secondary appointments in the Department of Economics, the Department of Preventive and Community Dentistry, and the UI Public Policy Center. Wehby also has been a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research since 2013.

The Colloton chair was established in 2000 to honor John W. Colloton, director emeritus of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and former UI vice president for statewide health services. Over a distinguished career of more than 40 years, Colloton guided the UIHC to its present status as one of the world’s premier medical centers. He earned his master’s degree in hospital and health administration from the University of Iowa in 1957.

See a John W. Colloton career synopsis

“The Department of Health Management and Policy is fortunate to have an endowed chair to honor the legacy of John Colloton, one of our program’s most dedicated supporters and accomplished alumni,” said Keith Mueller, Gerhard Hartman Professor and head of health management and policy. “I am delighted that George Wehby will hold this illustrious chair in our department and I know that his outstanding academic contributions will add to its distinction.”

Hari Sharma

Hari Sharma, PhD, joined the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Iowa in 2018. He completed his PhD in Health Economics from the University of Chicago in 2018. His research focuses on assessing quality of care and evaluating returns to healthcare spending in terms of resource utilization and health outcomes. He is also interested in public reporting and 5-star rating system for nursing homes. His recent work has examined costs and quality of care in nursing homes. While at the University of Chicago, he received the Paul Meier PhD Scholar award, and was a teaching assistant for courses on health services research methods, and the US health care system. Prior to starting his PhD, Hari spent 5 years specializing in health economics and outcomes research at Analysis Group, Inc. – an economic consulting firm.

Epi Prof. Michael Pentella named State Hygienic Lab director

Portrait of University of Iowa Prof. Michael Pentella, professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health and director of the State Hygienic Laboratory.Michael Pentella, interim director of the State Hygienic Laboratory (SHL) since December, will become permanent director on June 1.

Pentella is a clinical professor of epidemiology in the University of Iowa College of Public Health and former associate director in the SHL. He takes over the position from Chris Atchison, who retired Jan. 5.

Previously, he was director of the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Massachusetts and before that an associate director for the disease control division at SHL, where he was responsible for infectious disease testing and newborn and maternal screening and was actively involved with bioterrorism preparedness, antimicrobial resistance and pandemic influenza planning.

In 2016, Pentella became the seventh recipient of SHL’s William J. Hausler Career Achievement Award, which recognizes a lifetime of achievement and professional activities that extend beyond the laboratory and greatly impact the field of public health.

Pentella chairs the Association of Public Health Laboratories’ Biosafety and Biosecurity Committee as part of his lifelong interest in laboratory biosafety issues. In 2017, he received APHL’s Leadership in Biosafety and Biosecurity Award.  In 2016, he was given an Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of South Florida College of Public Health.

“Mike brings a wealth of experience to the position, and I’m confident he’ll provide capable leadership to this important state and university resource,” said John C. Keller, interim Vice President for Research and Economic Development, to whom SHL reports.