Colleen L. Barry, current Department of Health Policy and Management chair at Johns Hopkins University, will serve as the founding dean of the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, Provost Michael Kotlikoff announced on June 15.
Barry will begin her five-year appointment on Sept. 15, shortly after classes for the fall semester begin.
The search for the new college’s inaugural dean began with the formation of a faculty committee in February 2021. Cornell’s Board of Trustees, through its Executive Committee, approved Barry in early June, according to Kotlikoff. Her appointment comes less than a week after the Cornell Brooks School naming, which the University announced on June 10.
Barry expressed excitement about her new role, as she joins a school striving for global prominence in public policy and related fields.
“Cornell has stellar faculty working in various areas of public policy and well-respected policy-related educational programs, too,” Barry wrote in a statement to the Sun. “The new School can build on these strengths and serve as the intellectual home for public policy on campus moving forward. I am excited to join this vibrant community.”
In her past positions, Barry has researched how social policies can affect at-risk communities and individuals, especially those facing mental health challenges or substance abuse. At Johns Hopkins, she founded the Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy, a research hub on those topics, and Stigma Lab, which employs research to shift negative public perceptions on mental illness and addiction in order to implement more effective public policies.
Before her time as Department of Health Policy and Management chair, where Barry managed the largest department of its kind in the country, she taught at the Yale University School of Public Health and worked as a Massachusetts state health policy analyst. She earned her Master of Public Policy and her Ph.D. in health policy from Harvard University.
Barry will both lead and join the school’s faculty, which includes professors from Cornell’s Department of Policy and Management and the Department of Government in the College of Arts and Sciences.
According to Barry, faculty leaders continue to hone their vision for the school, and she is enthusiastic to take part and implement positive change.
“I am deeply honored to be coming to Cornell as the inaugural dean of the new Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy,” Barry wrote. “The Brooks School is well-positioned to immediately make a difference by promoting evidence-based public policy in the U.S. and globally.”