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SLU Professor Tapped to Lead City of St. Louis Boards of Health and Hospitals

by Maggie Rotermund on 12/18/2020
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Rhonda BeLue, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Management and Policy in Saint Louis University’s College for Public Health and Social Justice, will lead the advisory board to the City of St. Louis Department of Health.

The unanimous selection of BeLue was announced Thursday, Dec. 17, at the meeting of the City of St. Louis Boards of Health and Hospitals. 

Rhonda Belue
Rhonda BeLue, Ph.D.

The Boards of Health and Hospitals are established by the St. Louis City Charter and are advisory bodies to the Department of Health. The 13 members of the boards are appointed by the mayor. 

BeLue, who has served on the board since 2017, will take over as board chairperson in January.

“I’m honored to be selected by my fellow board members to serve as the board chairperson and I’m looking for to the opportunity to serve the board, the Department of Health and the St. Louis community,” BeLue said in a press release.

BeLue succeeds Will Ross, M.D., as chairperson. Timothy McBride, Ph.D., a professor in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, was reappointed to his position as the board’s vice chairperson. Ross will continue on as a member of the board. 

“I pass the torch to very capable hands,” said Ross. “Dr. BeLue is one of the metro area’s most compassionate public health champions and has demonstrated inspired leadership during her service, not only to the board and the academic community, but to the community at-large.”

BeLue’s research centers around understanding the role of family in health and health care, chronic disease in low- and middle-income countries and immigrant health. She writes for both public health and health management audiences, seeking to use research to inform practice and policy.  She is a member of AcademyHealth and the American Public Health Association.

“A priority for the City of St. Louis Department of Health is implementation of public health practice in a manner that drives the system toward health, racial and social justice to achieve optimum health for all,” said Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis. “Dr. BeLue has been a leader in the battle for health equity in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Her knowledge about health disparities as well as her leadership efforts to eliminate them align with the vision and continued work of the Department.” 

Earlier this year, BeLue was named to St. Louis Magazine’s list of 35 St. Louisans working to build equity change in the region. She joined SLU in 2017 after more than a decade at Penn State. 

College for Public Health and Social Justice

The Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice is the only academic unit of its kind, studying social, environmental and physical influences that together determine the health and well-being of people and communities. It also is the only accredited school or college of public health among nearly 250 Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States.

Guided by a mission of social justice and focused on finding innovative and collaborative solutions for complex health problems, the College offers nationally recognized programs in public health, social work, health administration, applied behavior analysis, criminology and criminal justice.