Ernst appointed chief medical officer; the new health facility makes its debut

Robert Ernst, associate vice president of student life for health and wellness and executive director of the University Health Service, has been named Chief Health Officer of the University of Michigan.

Ernst will serve as key senior advisor to the president and executive officers on issues related to the health and wellbeing of the university community, including health and wellness promotion, disease management and critical public health preparedness for all three campuses. Unified Messaging.

Roberto Ernesto

On June 16, the Council of Regents approved Ernst’s five-year appointment.

It will begin in the role on July 1 as Unified Messaging moves to a new public health facility that aligns with a more stable and endemic phase of its response to COVID-19. This structure will include a new unit focused on infection prevention and an associated advisory committee.

“With over 25 years of service at the university, Dr. Ernst has demonstrated his experience and strong commitment to campus health, public health and medical administration,” wrote President Mary Sue Coleman recommending Ernst. for the location.

“I am thrilled to take on this new role, which allows me to continue the university’s important public health and political work that aligns with the common goal of being a health promoting campus,” said Ernst.

Preeti Malani, the current chief health officer, will be named special advisor to the president when his term expires on June 30. In this capacity, she will assist in public health communication efforts and work to resolve the transition of various chief health officer and project responsibilities.

Malani will serve on a public health infection prevention and response advisory board, working closely with Ernst on ongoing management of COVID-19 and other infectious disease response efforts.

Ernst is a clinical assistant of internal medicine and has been a general practitioner since 1995.

In July 2020, he became director of UM’s COVID-19 Campus Health Response and chair of the COVID-19 Campus Health Response Committee.

“His leadership and leadership in these roles have been crucial to the university’s success in carrying out its educational, research and service missions during the pandemic,” said Coleman.

As part of the reorganized public health facility, Ernst will establish a new Infection Prevention and Epidemiology Unit that will oversee core functions related to infectious disease response that were previously managed by the CHRC.

Such functions include disease monitoring and surveillance, the COVID-19 community monitoring and sampling test program, wastewater surveillance, vaccine programs and database, public health communications and science and data analysis.

“I expect that we will continue to build on the CHRC’s outstanding work with the new unit dedicated to public health preparedness and response and that we will maintain the strong partnerships that have been established across campus when addressing health and wellbeing issues. university community, ”said Ernst.

The Infection Prevention and Epidemiology Unit will be administratively hosted at UHS but funded separately due to its broad reach covering students, faculty and staff from all three campuses.

In addition, an Infectious Disease Prevention and Response Advisory Committee for Public Health will be created to advise Ernst and university leaders on issues related to infectious disease response, policies and protocols.

The committee will include members of the CHRC and the current Public Health Advisory Group, as well as representatives from other units and the Flint and Dearborn campuses. The members of the committee will be appointed by the president.

Unified Messaging officials said the goal of the new public health facility is to ensure that the university’s infectious disease response capabilities continue to function efficiently and at a high level for the ongoing management of COVID-19 and for any future spikes or other infectious disease outbreaks.

They also wanted to enable staff and faculty to return to their normal functions by maintaining the interdepartmental and cross-functional relationships created through the CHRC facility and to fill gaps in UM’s public health infrastructure highlighted by the pandemic.

With the end of the CHRC, some key COVID-19 related programs will continue as partnerships over the next fiscal year. They include the COVID-19 Call Center, ResponsiBLUE health monitoring app, quarantine and isolation housing, and student compliance with COVID-19.

Ernst was previously UHS Medical Director from 2005 to 2014. He was Associate Executive Director and Medical Director at UHS from 2014 to 2015, Senior Associate Division Head for Outpatient Care at Michigan Medicine, and Assistant Professor of Medical Sciences. primary care at the Department of Internal Medicine at the Medical School from 2015 to 2018.

He received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Notre Dame in 1987 and his doctorate in medicine from the UM in 1991. He completed his internal medicine training at the UM hospital, where he also served as a resident chief physician.


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