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Dean of UCSF School of Nursing to Give SMU Commencement Address

David Vlahov, RN, PhD, who is the first male dean of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing, will be the 2013 Samuel Merritt University (SMU) Commencement speaker.

Vlahov is an expert in epidemiology, infectious diseases, substance abuse, and mental health. He specializes in working with community partners to improve urban health.

“His research contributions serve as a model of the importance of caring for diverse populations using interprofessional teams to solve contemporary health problems,” said Scot Foster, SMU Academic Vice President and Provost.  “That focus is in perfect synergy with SMU’s strategy to endow our students with an understanding of how racial and ethnic disparities are foundational to providing informed and effective healthcare to all communities.”

Before joining UCSF in 2011, Vlahov served as the senior vice president of research and director of the Center for Urban Epidemiologic Studies at the New York Academy of Medicine, as a professor of clinical epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and as adjunct professor in epidemiology at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Currently, Vlahov is a professor in the Department of Community Health Systems at the UCSF School of Nursing as well as in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the UCSF School of Medicine.

Once asked what words of advice he would offer to nursing students, Vlahov said: “Think about how you want to make a difference in the world. When done well, clinical practice makes a big difference in people's lives.” 

With keen interests in urban health, HIV infection and the medical implications of drug abuse, Vlahov founded an AIDS clinic for injection drug users in East Baltimore and spent eight years as a member of the New York City Board of Health under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Vlahov holds both baccalaureate and master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Maryland and earned his PhD in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University.

Samuel Merritt University's 2013 Commencement ceremonies will take place on May 24 at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. A 9:30 a.m. ceremony will be held for Doctor of Physical Therapy, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine and Doctor of Nursing Practice program graduates. A 1:30 p.m. ceremony will be held for graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN and ABSN programs), Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Occupational Therapy, and Master Physician Assistant programs.

pictured: Dr. David Vlahov, courtesy of UCSF