UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Harriet Nembhard, professor of industrial engineering, has been appointed interim department head of the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, effective Jan. 1, 2015.
She will succeed Paul Griffin, who has served as head of the department since 2009. He will step down Dec. 31.
Amr Elnashai, Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering, noted, "Paul is an exceptional department head. I benefited tremendously and learned a great deal from working with him."
He said he is delighted Nembhard will lead the department while a national search is underway for a new head. "Harriet is a very well respected teaching and research professor, who has been managing a complex and multi-disciplinary National Science Foundation project and who is passionate about the continued success of the department."
Nembhard joined Penn State in 2004 after serving in faculty positions at Auburn University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
She is director of the Penn State Center for Integrated Healthcare Delivery Systems, co-director of the Penn State National Science Foundation Center for Health Organization Transformation and director of tracking and evaluation for the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute.
In addition to her academic leadership roles, Nembhard is active in research that employs methods of statistics, quality, and productivity to develop relevant approaches to improve health care. Her work has included visualization methods for communicating health care data, statistical methods for the early detection of influenza outbreak, modeling patient adherence to treatment, monitoring mammograms for diagnostic error and development of a patented manufacturing process for small-scale medical devices.
A fellow of the American Society for Quality (ASQ), she received the ASQ Armand V. Feigenbaum Medal in 2003.
Nembhard is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education, the Institute of Industrial Engineers, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, and the International Academy of Quality.
She is an author of 39 journal articles and has been the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on more than $2.5 million in research funding.
A certified Six Sigma Black Belt, Nembhard has served as an expert consultant for several major companies and she oversees Penn State's Six Sigma minor. She has also served as an expert consultant in quality and Six Sigma for several major companies as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Pharmaceutical Science and Clinical Pharmacology Committee, and Penn State's Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment.
She received a bachelor's degree in management from Claremont McKenna College, a bachelor's degree in industrial and management systems engineering from Arizona State University, and master's and doctoral degrees in industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan.