Expert in natural disasters, other emergencies to start Jan. 1
Aram Dobalian has been named the next chair of the College of Public Health’s Division of Health Services Management and Policy, effective Jan. 1. He will also serve in a new leadership position, associate dean of academic affairs, where he will help to develop and manage a portion of the college’s academic portfolio, including engaging in related accreditation assessment activities.
Dobalian comes to Ohio State from the University of Memphis, where he serves as professor and director of the Division of Health Systems Management and Policy in the School of Public Health.
“I’m excited that Aram will be joining us not only because of the leadership that he will bring to the division, but the ways that he will contribute to leadership in the college. We have an unparalleled opportunity in public health at this moment that we must seize,” said Dean Amy Fairchild.
“He adds breadth and depth to our college expertise, and his history of equity-focused research and building a diverse faculty and student body will foster collaborations across the college and the university.”
Dobalian’s research and professional service focuses on disasters, emergencies and the ways in which these crises disproportionately impact the socioeconomically disadvantaged and medically vulnerable.
“What drew me to public health was recognizing the disproportionate impact that natural disasters and other emergencies have on those who are already socioeconomically disadvantaged or otherwise medically vulnerable,” he said.
“I also work extensively with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs — which serves a population that is older, sicker, poorer and includes many people who are part of racial and ethnic minority groups.”
In his research, Dobalian has examined health care access and quality of care during numerous crises, including studies focused on community health resilience, crisis leadership, inpatient and outpatient quality metrics, health care facility evacuation, information technology in disasters, disaster behavioral health and workforce readiness.
He led the development of the first U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Comprehensive Emergency Management Program Evaluation and Research agenda in 2007-08. In 2010, he became the founding director of the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center, developed to ensure timely access to high quality care for veterans during crises and to improve the nation’s health preparedness for response to national emergencies, natural disasters and terrorism.
Dobalian has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on grants totaling more than $30 million from the VA, the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Health Resources & Services Administration, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among others. He has authored more than 130 peer-reviewed articles, published in journals including the American Journal of Public Health, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Pain, Health Services Research and Medical Care.
Throughout his career, Dobalian has been particularly focused on the needs of people who are uninsured and underinsured, including homeless veterans and frail elders. This work often included collaborations with community-based organizations such as homeless service providers. He has also collaborated on projects with Team Rubicon, an international non-government disaster response organization that leverages the unique skillsets of veterans to help disaster victims while using service and camaraderie to help veterans reintegrate into civilian life.
Dobalian has also examined end-of-life decision making and resource use in nursing homes, the role of pain in health care utilization, nursing home malpractice, the Nationwide Health Information Network Trial Implementation, veteran reintegration into civilian life, IRB quality and nursing education.
He has served as the chair or as a member of multiple national research and policy agenda-setting calls to action, workgroups, and conference planning groups, and as a member of two National Academy of Medicine committees.
Dobalian holds a PhD in Health Services Research and an MPH in Health Services Organization from the University of California, Los Angeles, a JD from the Whittier School of Law and a BS in Physics from Vanderbilt University.
“I look forward to this opportunity to work with this dynamic, innovative leader — one whose stewardship led to his school’s MHA program moving up 14 spots in the U.S. News and World Report rankings during his tenure in Memphis,” Fairchild said.