Marla Gold to Retire as Senior Vice Provost for Community Health and Chief Wellness Officer

Dear Students and Colleagues,

I write to share that Marla J. Gold, MD, will be concluding her distinguished service as inaugural senior vice provost for Community Health and Chief Wellness Officer when she retires from Drexel at the end of the academic year on June 30, 2023. Marla has served the University with distinction in various roles for more than three decades.

Most recently, Marla has made a tremendous impact on the University by playing a pivotal role in evaluating the best strategies to safeguard students, faculty and professional staff through an unprecedented global health crisis.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it became apparent that Marla, dean emerita of Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health and a tenured professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management, was the ideal leader to coordinate the University’s response to the pandemic and to oversee the Return Oversight Committee. In consultation with colleagues across the University, she demonstrated great care and expertise as she guided Drexel’s approach to everything from campus health protocols to the ramp-up of research and our return to full campus life.

In 2021, I asked Marla to lead the implementation of key recommendations by 21CP in its review of Drexel’s Police Department (DPS). As part of this work, she oversaw the establishment of the Drexel Public Safety Oversight Committee and launched the DPS workload dashboard to increase transparency in communications about policing on campus.

Marla has been an inspiring leader who has made a tangible difference in the lives of countless others through work with philanthropy, government, educational institutions, business leaders and non-profits. In 2002, she assumed the deanship of Drexel’s School of Public Health. Under her leadership, the School became established as the first highly ranked, fully accredited school of public health in the greater Philadelphia region with a longstanding commitment to issues of health equity and education, research and practice focusing on the elimination of racial and ethnic health disparities. In 2012, the School of Public Health established the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, the first research center in the nation to study autism through the lens of public health.

Prior to her tenure at the School of Public Health, Marla served as chief of the Division of HIV/AIDS Medicine and vice chair of the Department of Medicine at the former MCP-Hahnemann Medical School, a predecessor of Drexel University College of Medicine.

Her legacy beyond Drexel is impressive and enduring. She served as assistant health commissioner for Infectious Disease Control in Philadelphia's Public Health Department, where she was responsible for all reportable and communicable diseases and conditions in the City. Following her service in City government, she created and led an innovative, interdisciplinary integrated clinical practice for persons with HIV/AIDS, containing a full complement of linked services. Today the Partnership Comprehensive Care Practice is one of the largest regional comprehensive HIV programs and recently celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Marla has served on the Philadelphia Board of Health through three mayoral administrations. Her contributions to Drexel and the city, to teaching and mentoring, have been recognized through numerous awards and honors, including the establishment of the Marla J. Gold Endowed Scholarship Fund at Drexel, which supports young leaders who seek to become physicians with public health expertise.

I am deeply grateful to Marla for her exemplary and inspiring leadership and tremendous contributions throughout her many years at Drexel. She has established one of the largest HIV care providers in the Philadelphia, positioned the Dana and David Dornsife School of Public Health for preeminence, established one of the nation’s leading institutes for autism research and most recently navigated the University community through an unprecedented global health crisis. The impact of her legacy at Drexel and throughout our region will be felt for years to come.

Please join me in thanking Marla for her years of dedicated and exceptional service.


John Fry

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