Aitken and Olshan reappointed as department chairs

August 09, 2011
Two members of the public health faculty have been reappointed to lead their departments in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Dean Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, has announced. The five-year reappointments follow upon highly favorable reviews of their first terms as chairs.

Dr. Mike Aitken

Dr. Mike Aitken
Dr. Andy Olshan

Dr. Andy Olshan

Michael Aitken, PhD, professor of environmental sciences and engineering, and Andrew Olshan, PhD, professor of epidemiology, first were appointed to chair their respective departments in 2006.

Rimer praised both men as important members of the School’s leadership team, noting that under their direction, student enrollment, faculty size and diversity, and research funding have increased in their departments. Both also facilitated the School’s successful competition for a contract with United Arab Emirates several years ago. Both were commended by their evaluation committees for their communications skills, transparency and collegiality, she said.
Aitken received a doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame and joined the UNC public health faculty in 1988. He now leads one of the top programs in environmental health engineering, the only program to be ranked which is not within an engineering school.
“I have been impressed by Dr. Aitken’s steady, inclusive, thoughtful leadership style in which he engages his faculty members in decision making on important matters facing the department,” Rimer said.
Olshan received a doctorate from the University of Washington at Seattle and joined the faculty in 1991. Under his leadership, grant support has increased, resulting in the department’s being one of the strongest in grant productivity on the UNC campus.
“Dr. Olshan has helped a superior department become even stronger,” Rimer said. “He is a great leader in the department and School and plays a critical leadership role in multiple centers on the campus.”

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or