School of Public Health Leadership Announcement

December 12, 2019

Dear Members of the Brown Community,

I write to share news that Professor Bess Marcus has decided to conclude her term as dean of the School of Public Health, effective June 30, 2020. I’m delighted that Professor Marcus intends to stay at Brown as a full-time researcher and teacher, and am grateful for her commitment to the School’s strategic plans and continued growth. We will launch a national search immediately to identify her successor.

Dean Marcus first arrived at Brown in 1988, and returned in 2017 to serve as dean. Since assuming this leadership role, Dean Marcus has achieved a number of important milestones. She spearheaded the School’s strategic planning efforts, which resulted in the plan, Advancing Well-Being for All. She has recruited numerous world-class faculty to Brown, grown the School’s research portfolio by 40 percent – including receiving the largest federal grant in the history of Brown University – and has overseen the development of a preeminent Mindfulness Center.  

As dean, Bess Marcus has focused on enhancing partnerships within and outside of the School. For example, she has worked with the Rhode Island Department of Health and local community organizations to invest in projects that are making an important local impact. In addition, she has secured a significant increase in resources and directed this funding towards catalyst grants to ignite new collaborations among faculty, as well as to student scholarships that allow exceptionally talented students to earn an advanced degree at the School of Public Health.

Dean Marcus has sought to cultivate a more diverse and inclusive community at the School of Public Health, including through the establishment of the monthly “Coffee and Conversation” series designed to connect all members of the School community. She has also supported faculty, staff and students by investing in their health and well-being through the creation of onsite programs.

Elevating the School’s profile has been a priority for Dean Marcus. She has organized a week-long celebration of Public Health that takes place during National Public Health Week, and established the popular State of the School talks to review academic and research accomplishments, placing these in the context of the School’s strategic goals.

Dean Marcus has an esteemed record of research and teaching, and is enthusiastic about devoting her full attention to this work. She has won numerous awards for her research, which focuses on chronic disease prevention with a particular focus on using technology to increase physical activity behavior in under-served and vulnerable populations, as well as her mentorship of students and postdoctoral trainees.  Throughout her career, she has published more than 275 peer-reviewed papers and has served as Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator on more than 90 grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Please join me in thanking Dean Marcus for her service to the School of Public Health, and for the contributions she will continue to make through research, teaching, and as a member of the Brown faculty.


Richard M. Locke