March 17, 2022

Dear Staff, Faculty, Students, and Postdocs,

For all the progress we have made as a nation in this pandemic, big challenges remain. President Joe Biden has asked me to come to Washington, D.C. to serve as the White House Covid-19 Coordinator and Counselor to the President to lead the efforts of our nation to meet this challenge.  I write to let you know that I will be taking a temporary leave of absence from Brown to assume this role effectively April 5. I will work with President Biden and his team to lead our country's response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic while advancing U.S. global health priorities and policy. 

The cornerstone of public health research, practice, and advocacy is service to the community. Public service is also central to the mission of Brown University -“to serve the community, the nation, and the world by discovering, communicating and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry.” At this extraordinary moment in our country, I am truly humbled that I have been called upon to help advance the health and security of our nation.

The Brown University School of Public Health is in an exciting period of growth that will continue in my absence. The School’s leadership team, department chairs, associate deans, and center directors will continue to bring bold thinking to issues central to our School, and, importantly, to make clear the significance of public health in our community, our country, and around the globe. 

I am thankful to President Paxson and Provost Locke for their support of the School of Public Health and for their confidence in our School, and in me. This appointment confirms that academia has an important role to play in the critical issues of our time.  

I am very proud of our students, staff, faculty, and postdocs, and the big strides that we have made together in building a stronger, more impactful school. Please know that our momentum will continue under an interim leader who will be named in the coming days. I look forward to working with you on my return. 

With deep gratitude for everything that you are doing,

Ashish Jha (signature)

Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH
Dean, School of Public Health