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Biography of the Dean

Jonathan Samet, MD, MS


Dean Jonathan Samet, MD, MS

Jonathan M. Samet, MD, MS, a pulmonary physician and epidemiologist, is Dean of the Colorado School of Public Health.  Previously, Dr. Samet was the Flora L. Thornton Chair for the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California and Director of the USC Institute for Global Health.  

Dr. Samet received a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Physics from Harvard College, an MD degree from the University of Rochester's School of Medicine and Dentistry, and a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health.  

His research focuses on the health risks of inhaled pollutants—particles and ozone in outdoor air and indoor pollutants including secondhand smoke and radon.  He has also investigated the occurrence and causes of cancer and respiratory diseases, emphasizing the risks of active and passive smoking.  For several decades, he has been involved in global health, focusing on tobacco control, air pollution, and chronic disease prevention.  

Dr. Samet has served and chaired numerous committees of the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, and as chair of the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee of the U.S. EPA and the FDA’s Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee. For the National Research Council, he chaired, among others, the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) VI Committee; the Committee on Research Priorities for Airborne Particulate Matter, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology; the Committee to Review the Draft IRIS Assessment on Formaldehyde; the Committee to Develop a Research Strategy for Environmental Health and Safety Aspects of Engineered Nanomaterials; the Committee to Review the IRIS Process; and the Committee on Incorporating 21st Century Science into Risk-Based Evaluations.  

Dr. Samet has served as editor and author for Reports of the Surgeon General on Smoking and Health since 1984, receiving the Surgeon General’s Medallion in 1990 and 2006 for these contributions. He was the Senior Scientific Editor for the 50th Anniversary 2014 report. 

He's received the 2004 Prince Mahidol Award for Global Health awarded by the King of Thailand, the Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Health, the WHO World No Tobacco Day Award, the Edward Livingston Trudeau Medal from the American Thoracic Society/American Lung Association and the Luther L. Terry Award for Distinguished Career from the American Cancer Society.  Dr. Samet also received the Alumni Award of Merit from the Harvard School of Public Health, and was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.  He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine (Institute of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences in 1997 and received the David M. Rall Medal for his contributions in 2015. ​

Colorado School of Public Health

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Mail Stop B119
Aurora, CO 80045


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