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School of Public Health News February 27, 2023

The UAB School of Public Health welcomes Olakunle Alonge, PhD, as the new director of the UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health.

Olakunle Alonge, PhDOlakunle Alonge, PhDAlonge joins UAB from his previous appointment as associate professor in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland. Additionally, he is an Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Liverpool Institute of Psychology, Health and Society in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Prior to these appointments, Alonge served other roles at Johns Hopkins University and spent extensive time on projects in Afghanistan, Liberia, and Nigeria.

After receiving a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Ibadan in Ibadan, Nigeria, Alonge earned a master’s degree in Public Health concentrated in Epidemiology and Biostatistics and a doctorate in philosophy in International Health Systems from Johns Hopkins University.

Alonge’s research and interests have focused on implementation science, health systems strengthening, and injuries at a global level.

“With increased efforts to decolonize global health and recent shifts in prioritized global health challenges and approaches, we really are at an inflection point in the field,” said Alonge. “The Sparkman Center recognized the common good of using health to build bridges and understanding across the global north and south from its inception, and it is that spirit that is very much needed to address the global health challenges of our time. It's truly an honor to take on this role at a center that got it right from the beginning and is working to advance health globally through pillars of education, research, and practice which are firmly rooted in equity and social justice. I am delighted by the opportunity to join efforts with a diverse group of faculty, students, international and domestic partners to build on the excellent work at the Sparkman Center to address solutions to some of the worst health challenges in resource-limited settings both globally and locally.”

“We are excited to be bringing on an internationally renowned scholar to lead our Sparkman Center,” noted Paul Erwin, MD, DrPH, dean of the UAB School of Public Health. “Dr. Alonge’s current research portfolio includes two Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grants, a first for our school.”

Current Sparkman Center Director, Dr. Janet Turan, will continue to lead the center until Alonge begins on August 1, 2023.

“We are indebted to Dr. Turan for her highly impactful leadership of the Sparkman Center, solidifying its work in research, education, and service,” added Erwin. “We are fortunate that she will continue to lead the center’s work in the Middle East and Africa from her base in Turkey.”

About the UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health: The mission of the UAB Sparkman Center is to advance global health equity and social justice through sustainable approaches in interdisciplinary education, research, global health practice, and community engagement. Learn more at uab.edu/sparkmancenter.

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