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Former PHS Department Chair, Donn D'Alessio, passed away on December 20

Donn D'Alessio

We are saddened to announce that Dr. Donn D'Alessio, Department Chair from 1981-2000, passed away on December 20, 2016. Dr. D'Alessio served as Department Chair when we were the Department of Preventive Medicine, and continued on as an emeritus member of the Department after his retirement. He received his MD from Cornell University, completed residency training at UW Hospital and the University of Illinois, and from 1962-1964 served in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Center for Disease Control. His research spanned infectious disease epidemiology and the epidemiology of so-called chronic diseases, and included the establishment of the NIH-funded Wisconsin Incidence Cohort Registry of Type I Diabetes among other population-based cohorts.

As Department Chair, Donn nourished ties and collaborations with the Wisconsin Department of Health to create student research opportunities and increase the public health impact of Departmental research. Also, he was responsible for establishing our integrated MS/PhD Graduate Program, the first such doctoral program in the country in the emerging field of Population Health, and for guiding our Department's name change in 2001 from Preventive Medicine to Population Health Sciences.

To celebrate Dr. D'Alessio's contributions to the Department, one of our graduate students is selected by fellow students to receive the Donn D'Alessio Student Award each year. Criteria for the award include not only excellence in research and academics, but also outstanding activities as a member of our community, sharing of knowledge, and active involvement in student affairs, including the PHS Student Organization, a fitting way to honor and celebrate Dr. D'Alessio's life and contributions.

His obituary can be found here:,-MD/#ob....