Dr. Jerome Adams has joined Purdue University as a presidential fellow and the university’s first executive director of health equity initiatives, professor of practice in the departments of Pharmacy Practice and Public Health and a faculty member of the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering at Purdue. He is the former Indiana state health commissioner and the 20th U.S. surgeon general.

“Dr. Adams represents the highest level of excellence through decades of caring for patients and service to the nation in public health,” Purdue President Mitch Daniels said. “He has consistently demonstrated commitment for health equity prior to, during and subsequent to his time as surgeon general. We are thrilled to have him provide leadership at Purdue and represent Purdue globally in this important strategic area.”

Eric Barker, dean of the Purdue College of Pharmacy, and Marion Underwood, dean of Purdue’s College of Health and Human Sciences, said Adams’ leadership will bolster Purdue’s efforts to be a leader in public health and health equity as he works alongside colleagues across multiple colleges and units at Purdue, around the state of Indiana and beyond to elevate the awareness and impact of Purdue’s science-based public health programs, research and engagement.

Adams, who comes to Purdue after having served as the 20th U.S. surgeon general from September 2017 through January 2021, said he intends to help amplify the efforts of the Purdue Extension program to promote health equity through Indiana and particularly in rural communities, as well as work specifically with the business community to make the case for health equity as workforce and economic issues.

Before his service to the nation, Adams served as Indiana state health commissioner from 2014 through 2017. In that role he oversaw the state’s response to Ebola and Zika, as well as an unprecedented HIV outbreak in southern Indiana and a lead contamination crisis in northern Indiana. Dr. Adams also has served as an associate professor of anesthesia at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis, where he still sees patients and helps train residents and medical students. 

Adams received his Master of Public Health with a focus on chronic disease prevention from the University of California, Berkeley, and his medical doctorate from Indiana University School of Medicine. His postgraduate internship was at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis and he completed his anesthesiology residency at the Indiana University Department of Anesthesia in 2006.

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