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Dr. Dana Dabalea

ColoradoSPH Appoints New Associate Dean for Research

Longtime Faculty Member and Center Director to Take on New Leadership Role at ColoradoSPH

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Since 2001, Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, has served in many capacities at the Colorado School of Public Health and at University of Colorado Anschutz. As a Distinguished University Professor and director of the LEAD (Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity & Diabetes) Center, she has championed diabetes research and improved health outcomes.

She will continue to drive research in her new role as the Associate Dean for Research for ColoradoSPH, by promoting collaborative, innovative research and delivering practical solutions to the most pressing public health issues of the day, in order to develop potential policy recommendations impacting the future of public health in Colorado and elsewhere. “It gives me satisfaction to give back to the school that shaped my career and helped me become who I am,” Dr. Dabelea said. “I really want to help others reach their potential.”

Before ColoradoSPH was established in 2008, Dabelea was part of the founding members who contributed to the development of the school, its bylaws, its master's and doctoral programs, and more.

“Dr. Dabelea’s decades of work serve as a cornerstone at the School, and we are extremely fortunate to have her take on this new post,” said Dean Cathy Bradley.

In 2015, Dr. Dabelea founded and directed the school’s LEAD Center that brings together faculty, research staff and trainees from within the ColoradoSPH, as well as the broader CU Anschutz campus community. She promoted a team science approach with cross-departmental collaboration, leveraging the expertise at ColoradoSPH and the University of Colorado , especially the Department of Pediatrics, where she is also a faculty member. Since its inception, the LEAD Center has grown to 11 faculty, 45 staff, and 20 trainees, with appointments in both the ColoradoSPH and in the Department of Pediatrics. This growth, especially in terms of the Center’s research portfolio, is something in which she takes great pride. LEAD has one of the largest research portfolios in the school.

Dr. Dabelea plans to take this multi-disciplinary approach in her new position as well, leveraging the three campuses that comprise ColoradoSPH—CU Anschutz, Colorado State University, and University of Northern Colorado—to do more. For the CSU and UNC campuses, Dabelea is considering several options, including having professors from all campuses take mini sabbaticals or participate in knowledge exchanges where they can experience what the other campuses offer. “I aim to challenge myself to pursue new directions and enhance the school’s research portfolio, including its impact, visibility, infrastructure, and revenue,” she said.

“I am excited to see where Dr. Dabelea will take the school. I have no doubt she will be extremely successful.” said Dean Bradley.

Dabelea began studying diabetes in 1990 with internal medicine followed by a Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases residency and a PhD in Clinical Sciences at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Timisoara, Romania. Her interest blossomed after she moved to the United States for fellowship work with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). There, she studied the Pima Indians of southern Arizona, a population ravaged by Type 2 diabetes. Since moving to Colorado, she has directed landmark studies such as the multi-center SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth, and contributed to landmark clinical trials such as the Diabetes Prevention Program that showed that both lifestyle and metformin interventions could prevent type 2 diabetes in adults.