SLU Names Next Permanent Dean of College for Public Health and Social Justice
Saint Louis University has appointed Leslie McClure, Ph.D., as the next permanent dean of SLU’s College for Public Health and Social Justice (CPHSJ), effective Nov. 15.
McClure is the associate dean for faculty affairs at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. She also has served as the chair of the school's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics since 2015 and previously served as the interim director of the Drexel Biostatistics Service Center.
"Dr. McClure brings a notable track record of success and leadership in public health education to SLU," said University Provost Mike Lewis, Ph.D., in announcing her appointment. “Her work in public health and focus on faculty development, research and DEI initiatives align with SLU's Jesuit mission.”
Under McClure’s leadership, Drexel’s epidemiology and biostatistics department launched several new academic programs, including a nationally ranked Ph.D. in biostatistics. During her tenure, the department also added 20 new faculty positions and increased research expenditures by 44%.
A clinical trials biostatistician by training, McClure is a federally funded researcher who has focused on understanding health inequities — particularly racial and geographic — and the role that neighborhood and the environment play in them.
I was attracted to the mission-driven work that is being done at SLU and am excited to engage with the community to work together to be a positive force on the health of the community and globally."Leslie McClure, Ph.D.
In addition to her research, McClure is passionate about increasing diversity in the mathematical sciences and devotes considerable time to mentoring younger scientists. Among other initiatives, she co-leads the faculty development core of Drexel’s Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) grant from the National Institutes of Health.
At the national level, McClure is a fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Society for Clinical Trials and the American Heart Association. She also serves as president of the Eastern North American Region of the International Biometric Society (ENAR).
She began her academic career at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2004 as an assistant professor of biostatistics and was promoted to full professor in 2013. At UAB, she served as the director of graduate studies and head of the section on research methods and clinical trials.
McClure holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Kansas, a master’s degree in preventive medicine and environmental health from the University of Iowa, and a doctorate in biostatistics from the University of Michigan.
"It is my honor to be selected to serve as the next dean of the College for Public Health and Social Justice at Saint Louis University," McClure said. "I was attracted to the mission-driven work that is being done at SLU and am excited to engage with the community to work together to be a positive force on the health of the community and globally."
McClure will succeed Ellen Barnidge, Ph.D., associate professor of behavioral science and health education, who has served as the college’s interim dean since February 2022.
"Her steady leadership and commitment to the college and SLU have helped set up CPHSJ for future success," Provost Lewis said of Barnidge. "Ellen has been a strong advocate for the College and a tireless voice promoting well-being and equity for all students, faculty and staff in our community."
McClure’s appointment follows a national search led by a search committee comprised of faculty, staff, students and trustees. Danny Willis, D.N.S., R.N., dean of the Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing, chaired the search committee.
About SLU's 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 focus on finding innovative and collaborative solutions for complex health problems, the college offers nationally recognized programs in public health and health administration.