UNMC's Center for Reducing Health Disparities names new director

Dejun Su, Ph.D., has strong background in engaging communities with diverse cultural backgrounds

Dejun Su, Ph.D., director of the South Texas Border Health Disparities Center at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), Edinburg, since 2009 is the new director of the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Center for Reducing Health Disparities in the College of Public Health.

Dr. Su, who began his new position Oct. 1, has a strong track record in engaging communities with diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, said Ayman El-Mohandes, M.D., M.B.B.Ch., M.P.H., dean of the College of Public Health, in announcing the appointment.

“He brings tremendous energy and commitment to this important domain of learning and service, in addition to many personal attributes that will allow him to exert wise and collaborative leadership at the center, the college and the community,” Dr. El-Mohandes said.

Dr. Su, who also will serve as associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Social and Behavioral Health, said he was impressed by the growth and accomplishments of UNMC’s College of Public Health in the past five years.

“It is young, vibrant and on track to becoming one of the renowned public health programs in the nation. I am deeply honored that I can be a part of this team and I look forward to working closely with my colleagues to move our agenda forward in the years to come,” Dr. Su said.

Dr. Su has a background of funded research tackling the issue of health disparities among underserved and minority populations. In the past five years, he and his collaborators have received $3.3 million in funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute and the Office of Minority Health.

At UPTA, he created research centers in health disparities, social demography and health research and policy. His current research tackles disparities in health and use of health care programs among Hispanics living in the vast U.S.-Mexico border area, one of the most rapidly growing, yet also one of the most underserved segments of the U.S. population.

He also taught undergraduate and graduate courses, including Health Research and Policy, Sociology of Health, Social Demography, Quantitative Research Methods, Social Statistics and Population and Society.

Born and raised in a coastal town in northeast China, Dr. Su received his undergraduate degree in sociology, his master’s in demography from Beijing University, and his doctorate in sociology from the University of Chicago. He was a research assistant for Nobel Prize laureate Robert Fogel in Chicago.

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