Meet the Dean, David C. Goff, Jr.
After more than a year-long search, the Colorado School of Public Health finally welcomed its new dean, David C. Goff, Jr., MD, PhD, on June 1, 2012. Although the school waited more than a year to name its next dean, Goff’s own path to the position has been a journey made over several years and milestones.
The path to Colorado for the native North Carolinian began while Goff was in high school. He read about the “magic bullet” of antibiotics and the drug’s major public health impacts. With this new curiosity for drug discovery, Goff pursued an undergraduate study in chemistry and biochemistry at Duke University.
Although academically successful, the laboratory-focused education did not afford Goff the interpersonal interaction he desired. So following graduation, Goff enrolled in the University of North Carolina Medical School and there became more acquainted with treating preventable diseases.
“While in medical school, I was impressed by the amount of effort physicians and other healthcare providers devoted to care for the complications of chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, that we were taught were largely preventable,” states Goff.
With an appreciation for prevention in mind, Goff’s educational endeavors took him to Houston to pursue training in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and doctoral work in epidemiology at the University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health.
“During my doctoral research, focused on heart disease in Hispanics, I became aware of the work going on in the San Luis Valley,” states Goff.
The San Luis Valley research, known as the San Luis Valley Diabetes study, was the foundation for the future Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center, now a part of the Colorado School of Public Health.
Although Goff didn’t realize that his own future would one day take him to Colorado, he maintained strong relationships with Colorado researchers when he left Texas to assume a faculty position at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. At Wake Forest, he became involved in the IRAS study, also involving a center in the San Luis Valley.
While at Wake Forest, Goff furthered his career as an epidemiologist and physician. He developed a strong research expertise on the prevention and understanding of heart disease and stroke, with a focus on issues related to diabetes. And in 2007, Goff was appointed the Chair of Epidemiology and Prevention in the Division of Public Health Sciences.
Throughout his 19 years of research, teaching, administration, community outreach and advocacy, Goff earned opportunities to serve on prominent committees with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine. He has also been an active volunteer and leader with the American Heart Association. Throughout these accomplishments, Goff credits his career success to a team model.
“Career success is a journey, not a destination, and is a result of effective teamwork rather than just individual efforts,” states Goff. “Whether in research, community public health practice, or education, individual efforts only matter in the context of effective team functioning.”
Goff strives to bring that model to his role as Colorado’s next dean of public health, where he is poised to advance a strong vision for the school’s future.
“The Colorado School of Public Health will be a regional and global leader in training the public health workforce of tomorrow, generating the knowledge needed to support public health practice, and enhancing population health at the community level,” states Goff.
His vision is tied strongly to the opportunities available at the school’s three partnering institutions, University of Colorado, Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado.
“The school is an important part of the fabric of the university,” states Goff. “CSPH provides outstanding educational programs to enrich the experience of learners across the undergraduate, graduate and health professional programs at CU, CSU and UNC.”
Additionally, Goff believes that the school provides programs and expertise to enhance the educational competencies, community connections, and research collaborations already occurring at the institutional level.
As dean, Goff will oversee these efforts from his University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus office, but plans to work closely with leadership from all three campus communities.
Outside of his role as dean, Goff moved to Colorado with his wife Terri. They have two adult children, Katherine and Alexander. Goff is especially fond of outdoor activities, especially hiking and beach activities, and he is an advanced open water scuba diver. Although Colorado has fewer water sports then a coastal state, skiing in the Rockies is on his “Colorado must do list.”
If you are interested in meeting Dean Goff, please contact his executive assistant Teri Bokn to schedule an appointment, Teri.Bokn@ucdenver.edu or 303.724.4450. For additional information, please visit the Office of the Dean online.