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Ken Olden

Acting Dean of the School of Health Professions



Dr. Olden, from 1991-2005, was director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Nation Toxicology Program (NTP) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  He was the first African American to become director of one of the NIH institutes.  In 2005, he returned full time to his research position as Chief of The Metastasis Group in the Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis at the NIEHS, which he also held while director.  He held the position of Yerby Visiting Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health for the academic year 2006-2007, and is now Founding Dean of the School of Public Health at the City University of New York.

Dr. Olden received the PhD degree in cell biology and biochemistry from Temple University in 1970, and is the recipient of six honorary doctorate degrees. He was a postdoctoral fellow and instructor in the Physiology department at the Harvard University Medical School from 1970 to 1974.  From 1974-1979, he was a researcher in the laboratory of molecular biology in the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  In 1977, he became the first African American to be awarded tenure and the rank of independent investigator at the NIH.  From 1979-1991, he held several positions at the Howard University Cancer Center, including Director, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Oncology.

Dr. Olden honors and awards are numerous.  To name a few, in 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to membership on the National Cancer Advisory Board, and President William J. Clinton selected him to receive the Presidential Distinguished Executive Rank Award in 1996 and Presidential Meritorious Executive Rank Award in 1997.  He is the recipient of the three most prestigious awards in public health, the Calver Award (2002), the Sedgwick Medal (2004), and the Julius B. Richmond Award (2005).  He was awarded the highly prestigious Princess Takamatsu Cancer Medal by the Japanese Royal Family in 2004, was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences in 1994 and was appointed Member of the Visiting Committee, Board of Overseers, of Harvard College in 2007.  He has been on the editorial board of numerous journals, serving in most instances as associate editor.  He has been cited in Current Contents, Life Sciences for having published two of the 100 most-cited papers in 1978-1979.  Over 28 visiting or post-doctorate fellows have trained in his laboratory, and he has published over 132 full length manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals (most recent in the Journal of Biological Chemistry 284:20936-20945, 2009) more than 58 review articles and book chapters and edited one book.  He has chaired or co-chaired numerous national and international meetings and has been an invited speaker or keynote speaker at over 175 symposia seminars.  Most recently, he served on the Bipartisan Panel of Industry; NGO and Academic Experts to Propose New Rules for Science in Federal Regulation ( Chaired by the Honorable Sherwood Boehlert (R.NY) and Donald Kennedy, former Editor of Science and President of Stanford University); the IOM Panel on the Health Effects of the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico and was appointed by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to membership on the Board of Directors of the National Environmental Education Foundation, and by the Deputy Administrator to membership on the Board of Scientific Counselors Advisory Committee of the EPA.