Shortell: ‘Ecological’ approach to health


Stephen Shortell

Stephen Shortell

05 June 2002 |

Stephen Shortell describes Berkeley as an ideal environment for this broad approach to health research.

“It’s extremely eclectic here,” he says. “You can feel the buzz and intellectual excitement on campus.”

Shortell, 57, will become dean of the School of Public Health Sept. 1, succeeding Edward Penhoet, who is joining the San Francisco-based Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

“Steve has built a distinguished career in the field of heath services research and is one of the world’s leading figures in that field,” said Penhoet in welcoming his successor.

Since arriving at Berkeley four years ago, Shortell has played a key role in developing relationships with the social and biological sciences departments. He considers such partnerships vital to the campus’s Health Sciences Initiative, which unites disparate research fields in an ambitious effort to solve society’s most challenging health problems.

“One of the biggest strengths of a campus like UC Berkeley is its emphasis on interdisciplinary studies,” Shortell says. “We encourage our students to develop an ecological approach to health, to learn how various factors interact to affect a person’s well-being. The problems we’re seeing in health are complex and require an understanding of such fields as genetics, politics, economics, epidemiology, sociology, psychology and public policy.”

The Blue Cross of California Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Management, Shortell holds a joint appointment at the School of Public Health and the Haas School of Business. He also is affiliated with the Department of Sociology and UC San Francisco’s Institute for Health Policy Studies.

“We are extremely fortunate to have a scholar of Stephen Shortell’s eminence and leadership ready to take the helm of the School of Public Health,” Chancellor Berdahl said of the appointment. “Because health care today has so many dimensions to it, the scope of his expertise as a leading social scientist is critical to addressing the health care issues of society.”

An advocate for reform of the nation’s health care policy, Shortell ‘s honors include the Baxter-Allegiance Prize, considered the highest honor worldwide in the field of health services research.


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