Preeti Malani, professor of internal medicine, has been named chief health officer for the University of Michigan.

Her appointment, approved Thursday by the Board of Regents, is effective June 1 and runs through May 31, 2020.  She replaces Robert Winfield, who served as the university’s first chief health officer until his death in October 2016.

Preeti Malani

“Dr. Malani’s impressive achievements as a physician, researcher and communicator make her an outstanding choice to help us ensure the health and wellness of all members of our community, as well as our ability to be a leading institution in these crucial areas,” says President Mark Schlissel.

“As an alumna and former resident adviser she literally understands what it is like to live at U-M, and as an undergraduate she was a volunteer with our Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center.”

As chief health officer, Malani will serve as an adviser to the president and executive officers on matters of the health and wellness of the university community, including issues of disease management, public health preparedness and promotion of healthy practices and climate on all three campuses.

She also will serve as the medical director and chair of the advisory committee for MHealthy, the university’s community health and wellness program.

“Health is much more than the absence of disease,” says Malani. “I look forward to working with my colleagues across campus to promote and advance all aspects of health and wellness.  I am honored to be Michigan’s chief health officer and to build on the remarkable legacy of Dr. Bob Winfield.”

Malani’s clinical expertise includes both infectious diseases and geriatric medicine. She is the director of the recently launched National Poll on Healthy Aging based at the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

Since 2012, she has served as an associate editor of JAMA. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and has edited five books. Malani participates actively in lay forums on science and medicine and her recent writing has appeared in a variety of platforms including National Public Radio, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Michigan Rivals, Health Affairs blog and JAMA News.

The position of chief health officer was created in 2006. Since that time, the chief health officer has played a leadership role in establishing the university as a smoke-free campus, the coordination of the university’s response to infectious disease threats such as H1N1 and Ebola viruses, and improving access to mental health services for students on campus.

Malani earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from U-M, a medical degree from Wayne State University and a master’s degree in journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

She completed her internal medicine residency and infectious diseases fellowship at U-M, where she also received a master’s degree in clinical research design and statistical analysis.