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Meet SPH’s new leaders: Kristen Malecki

Dr. Kristen Malecki, PhD, MPH is the new Director of the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. Malecki comes to UIC SPH from the University of Wisconsin (UW) where was an Associate Professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences within the School of Medicine and Public Health.  As a nationally renowned leader in Environmental Health Sciences, Malecki held several leadership positions at UW including Director for the Center for Urban Population Health and Director of the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), a longitudinal cohort and population-based research enterprise serving the entire UW Madison community, monitoring the health of state residents and contributing to a breadth of translational population health and applied public health research.

Malecki’s own research focuses on the examination of the combined impacts of chemical (air pollution, water pollution), physical and social stressors, and their influence on adult chronic diseases, aging and health disparities. She serves as the Principal Investigator for a number of community-academic partnerships and is committed to advancing health equity. Her longstanding partnerships with state and local public health, as well as community-based organizations, supports a breadth of impactful public health projects. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, her team led the only statewide antibody surveillance initiative.

In addition to her research, Malecki developed several new courses for the Masters of Public Health degree including Quantitative Approaches to Public Health and Public Health Leadership and Environmental Health. Her service also included chairing the University Wide Campus Climate and Diversity Committee. In 2021, she was appointed to the National Academies of Sciences standing committee on the “Use of Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions.” Malecki received her PhD in Environmental Epidemiology and Health Policy and her Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.