Dean's Speaker Series

The ColoradoSPH Dean’s Speaker Series is designed to bring distinguished experts to Colorado and engage the community on a variety of current and important topics in the field of public health. The Dean’s Speaker Series events are free and open to the public; registration is encouraged.​ 

Upcoming lectures


Past lectures


Shelley Hearne

Shelley Hearne, DrPH
"Policy as the Prescription for Catalyzing Change in Denver and Beyond: Academics as Health Advocates"

Dr. Shelley Hearne has spent more than three decades as a change-maker bent on boosting the health, safety, and sustainability of our planet and the people on it. She works with foundations, policymakers, and the private and non-profit sectors to tackle some of the thorniest health and environmental issues of the day: from finding solutions in urban health policy to reducing exposure to toxic chemicals in our everyday lives. Dr. Hearne serves as the principal investigator for CityHealth and as a senior advisor to the Big Cities Health Coalition which is a forum for the leaders of the nation's largest metropolitan health departments. She is also the executive director of the Forsythia Foundation and incoming director of the Center for Public Health Advocacy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. ​

This event was held at CU Anschutz on February 25, 202. Dr. Hearne also spoke ​at CU Denver on Feb. 24​.
Sandro Galea

 Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH 
"Guns, Opioids and Obesity: A Population Health Science Lens on Three Contemporary Epidemics" 

Dr. Sandro Galea is the Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor of the Boston University School of Public Health. Dr. Galea's presentation focused on how population health principles can inform our understanding of three epidemics of our time and to better understand how we might mitigate the consequences of current syndemics. This event was part of the Department of Family Medicine's Levitt Distinguished Speaker Series and was presented with support from the Colorado School of Public Health. 

This event was held at CU Anschutz on Jan. 22, 2020.

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Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati

Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, PhD 
"Addressing Tobacco Disparities Among Hispanic/Latinos and Other Populations Through Research and Policy"

Dr. Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati is Associate Dean for Community Initiatives at the Keck School of Medicine (KSOM) and Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement at the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Southern California. She also the Associate Director for the Center for Health Equity in the Americas.

Dr. Baezconde-Garbanati spoke at all three ColoradoSPH campuses  December 2 & 3, 2019, with a panel discussion following her presentation at CU Anschutz on Dec. 3. The panel discussed Colorado efforts to reduce the burden of tobacco and cancer disparities in the Latino/Hispanic community, and was moderated by Cerise Hunt, PhD, director of the Center for Public Health Practice and co-chair of the ColoradoSPH Inclusive Excellence Committee.

Javier Nieto

Javier Nieto, MD, MPH, MHS, PhD​
"The Epidemiology of Sleep Health"​

Dr. Javier Nieto is a physician-epidemiologist with ample experience in epidemiology research and teaching. His main areas of research interest are survey research, epidemiologic methods, cardiovascular disease epidemiology, and the health consequences of sleep disorders. Specific areas of research interest include the relationship between sleep breathing disorders and inadequate sleep on chronic diseases (including clinical and subclinical cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mood disorders), as well as furthering our understanding of upstream determinants of health. He was the founding director of the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW) and is author or co-author of nearly 250 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. He is co-author of “Epidemiology Beyond the Basics,” an epidemiology textbook widely used in graduate epidemiology programs worldwide. He joined Oregon State University in Fall 2016 to become a professor and dean of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.
Dr. Neito's talk highlighted the “inertia” of epidemiology and mainstream medicine to acknowledge sleep disorders as important determinants of chronic diseases. In this talk, Dr. Nieto made the analogy with the decades it took for cholesterol to be recognized as a CVD risk factor (from the 1910’s studies by Austrian and Russian pathologists, to the Framingham study in the 1950’s, to the national cholesterol management guidelines in the 1980s) and the “inflammation theory” of atherosclerosis (from Virchow’s and Rokitansky’s writings debating the issue in the 1850s, to the current controversies), to outline the progression and research of sleep health over the years. ​

This lecture was held at CU Anschutz on December 3, 2018. ​​

Thomas Burke

Thomas A. Burke, PhD, MPH
"From Fracking to Flint: Reflections on Science from the Front Lines of the EPA"​

Thomas Burke is a professor and chair in Health Risk and Society Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. His lecture presented a frontline perspective on the nation’s most pressing environmental challenges. From climate to clean air, pesticides to drinking water safety, the science supporting our environmental policies is facing unprecedented challenges. With these challenges comes opportunity to rethink our approaches to environmental health. We need to broaden our view of the social context of environmental decisions, work across the many disciplines of environmental health, reach out to the business community, and regain public trust in science. Case examples including hydraulic fracturing, pesticide safety, lead, and PFAS in drinking water will be discussed. The new Environmental Health Matters Initiative of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine were also presented.

This lecture was held at ​CU Anschutz on October 1 and at CSU on October 2, 2018.

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Robyn Gershon

 Robyn R. M. Gershon, DrPH, MHS
"Emergency Medicine Metrics: How Do We Know When We Are Prepared?"

Robyn Gershon is Clinical Professor of Global Public Health in the Department of Environmental Public Health and Director of Early Career Research Development in the College of Global Public Health at New York University. Dr. Gershon is an internationally recognized interdisciplinary public health researcher and educator with expertise in disaster science and occupational and environmental health sciences. She has conducted more than two dozen large-scale interdisciplinary studies, with a focus on disaster preparedness, healthcare safety, urban environments, and risk assessment and management in high-risk work occupations.  She is an elected Board Member for the World Association for Disaster Medicine (WADEM), one of only four members representing the US; New York City/NYU Emergency Preparedness Partnership Interest Group Member; member of the Office of the Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mass Fatality Management Working Group; and, member of the Fatality Management Working Group for the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response/Office of Emergency Management, DHHS. 

This event was held at CU Anschutz on May 4, 2018.​
David Vlahov

 David Vlahov, PhD, RN, FAAN
"Urban As a Determinant of Health​"

Dr. Vlahov is currently Professor of Epidemiology, Professor of Nursing, and Associate Dean for Research at the Yale School of Nursing. He is also Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing after serving five years as Dean. Dr. Vlahov was the founding Director of the Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies at the New York Academy of Medicine. His broad research expertise covers urban health, epidemiology, infectious diseases, substance abuse, and mental health. Dr. Vlahov conducted studies of urban populations in Baltimore for over 20 years and was a recipient of the NIH MERIT Award. He led epidemiologic studies in Harlem and the Bronx, serving as platforms for subsequent individual- and community-level intervention studies and community-based participatory research addressing social determinants of health. He served on the New York City Board of Health during the Bloomberg administration. Dr. Vlahov is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Urban Health, has edited three books on urban health, and published over 650 scholarly papers. With colleagues he initiated the International Society for Urban Health, serving as its first President. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.​

Lecture: "Urban as a Determinant of Health" was held at CU Anschutz on May 3, 2018.

Panel discussion: "Lessons from HIV Prevention for the Overdose Epidemic​" was held at the CU Denver Business School on May 4, 2018.