Powderly named director of WUSTL’s Institute for Public Health

William G. Powderly, MD, the J. William Campbell Professor of Medicine and co-director, Division of Infectious Diseases at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named director of the Institute for Public Health (IPH), according to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.


Powderly succeeds founding director Edward F. Lawlor, PhD, dean of the Brown School and the William E. Gordon Distinguished Professor; Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH, the Niess-Gain Professor of Surgery and professor of medicine in the School of Medicine, will continue to serve as deputy director. The appointment is effective July 1.

“Washington University’s Institute for Public Health has flourished under the leadership of its founding director Eddie Lawlor,” Wrighton said. “Bill Powderly is the perfect person to take the institute to the next level. His research is known around the world, his leadership is proven and his energy is contagious, and I’m grateful he has taken on this leadership role.

“The Institute for Public Health has drawn in many faculty from across the university, and we have the strength to contribute to addressing public health issues locally, nationally and internationally. It is rewarding to see such a strong leadership team at the institute,” Wrighton said.

“Eddie Lawlor has put into place a strong foundation,” Powderly said. “I view my role as building on what he and Graham have started, with all centers up and running.”

In his new role, Powderly will oversee all five centers and initiatives of the IPH, including the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging; the Center for Community Health & Partnerships; the Dissemination & Implementation Initiative; the Public Health Data & Training Initiative; and the Center for Global Health, for which Powderly currently serves as director.

“I hope to build more integrated projects,” Powderly said. “The centers will operate within their own domains, but work together to identify areas the institute can address both locally and globally.

“I’d also like to engage the institute scholars in more transdisciplinary projects, engaging faculty and students from both campuses,” he said.

“I am looking forward to working with Graham and the other center directors.”

In addition to Colditz, Powderly’s leadership team includes:

  • Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, the Ralph and Murial Pumphrey Professor of Social Work at the Brown School and director of the Friedman Center;
  • Enola K. Proctor, PhD, the Frank J. Bruno Professor of Social Work Research and associate dean for faculty at the Brown School and director of Dissemination & Implementation;
  • Richelle Simmons Clark, co-director of Community Health & Partnerships; and
  • Sarah Gehlert, PhD, the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity at the Brown School and co-director of Community Health & Partnerships.

A search is under way for a manager of the Data & Training Initiative.

Powderly will continue to serve as co-director of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine at the School of Medicine.

A highly regarded specialist in infectious diseases, Powderly has a long history with WUSTL. He started his career at the School of Medicine in the 1980s and later served as co-director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of the AIDS Clinical Trials Unit.

In 2004, Powderly returned to his native Ireland, becoming head of the Department of Medicine at University College Dublin School of Medicine. He was named dean of that medical school in 2005, and during his tenure there expanded the medical school’s international activities, especially in Malaysia and China.

For more than 20 years, Powderly has been actively engaged in research to improve treatments for patients with HIV. His initial studies focused on evaluating drug cocktails to identify effective first-line treatment for HIV. He also has been involved in research to understand the long-term side effects of HIV medications, particularly metabolic problems like diabetes, lipid abnormalities and osteoporosis.

He has served in a number of leadership roles in his field, including as vice chair of the U.S. AIDS Clinical Trials Group and chair of its scientific steering committee. He has been a member of numerous advisory groups on HIV and infectious diseases for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He also was the first chairman of the HIV Medicine Association.

Powderly is the author of more than 300 scientific journal articles and book chapters on HIV and AIDS. He also is a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.