Newschaffer named dean of the College of Health and Human Development

August 03, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Craig J. Newschaffer, associate dean for research in the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, has been named the new Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development, following a national search. Newschaffer’s appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Newschaffer will succeed Ann “Nan” Crouter, who retired June 30 after leading the college since 2007. Kathryn Drager has been serving as interim dean since July 1 and will continue in that role through the end of 2018.

"I am so pleased that Craig Newschaffer will be joining us as dean of the College of Health and Human Development,” said Nick Jones, Penn State executive vice president and provost. “He brings to the University impressive skills as a leader and scholar, along with a passion for making a difference, both in the lives of students, faculty and staff, and those he’s impacted through his research. I am delighted to appoint someone of Craig’s caliber to lead the college’s outstanding teaching and research programs to even greater heights.”

Newschaffer is the founding director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, an interdisciplinary, first-of-its-kind research institute established in 2012 that takes a public health approach to addressing the challenges presented by autism spectrum disorders, as well as a professor of public health and former chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Drexel.

Newschaffer came to Drexel in 2006 after seven years on the faculty in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he founded and directed the Hopkins Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Epidemiology. He also has held teaching and research positions at Saint Louis University and Thomas Jefferson University.

“I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to join the College of Health and Human Development,” Newschaffer said. “It is a truly unique place where students passionate about improving the human condition can take different paths to make a difference, whether that is helping people one-on-one, enhancing the communities we live in, or addressing the most pressing challenges to the health and wellness of entire populations.   

“Students in the college have the opportunity to study with proven practitioners and world-leading scholars and researchers — faculty that are making discoveries and solving challenges every day. Simply put, as dean, I look forward to doing all I can to help the college’s talented faculty, students and staff find the most impactful ways to enrich the lives of others through science and service.”

An epidemiologist with a primary research focus on the discovery of modifiable autism risk factors, Newschaffer’s research interests include environmental determinants of autism spectrum disorders, gene-environment interactions, neurological disorders, and chronic disease comorbidity. He has been the principal or co-principal investigator on more than 50 funded research studies, and his work has been published in more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles. He also has served on the editorial boards of several academic journals and is currently associate editor of the journal Autism Research.

From 2015 to 2017 Newschaffer served as vice president of the International Society for Autism Research, and he is a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology. Among his many professional activities, Newschaffer is a member of the leadership team for the Philadelphia Autism Project, and he has served on the Department of Defense’s Autism Research Program Integration Panel, the Autism Speaks Scientific Advisory Committee, and the Interagency Autism Coordinating Council’s Autism Research Strategic Plan expert review group.

Newschaffer earned bachelor’s degrees in public relations and biology from Boston University, both in 1984; a master’s degree in health policy and management from Harvard University’s School of Public Health in 1987; and a doctorate in chronic disease epidemiology from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University in 1996. In 2018, he was inducted into Johns Hopkins’ Society of Scholars in recognition of his scholarly achievements.

As dean, Newschaffer will serve as the College of Health and Human Development’s principal academic and administrative officer, reporting directly to the executive vice president and provost of the University. Newschaffer will oversee the college’s eight departments and schools and five research centers, and he will continue to build the college’s reputation as a national and international leader in undergraduate and graduate education, interdisciplinary research, and outreach focused on improving human health, development, and quality of life.  

The College of Health and Human Development has approximately 4,200 undergraduate and 320 graduate students enrolled in residence, and 685 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled online through Penn State World Campus. The college has 280 full-time faculty members, including many who are recognized leaders in their fields.

  • Craig J. Newschaffer

    Craig J. Newschaffer, associate dean for research in the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, has been named dean of Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

    IMAGE: A.J. Drexel Autism Institute
Last Updated August 03, 2018