Professor Steven Albert, chair of the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, is the newly appointed Philip B. Hallen Endowed Chair in Community Health and Social Justice.
The Chair is named after Philip Hallen who served as president of the Falk Foundation from 1963 to 2001. Under his leadership, the foundation became one of a small number of national foundations devoting almost all of its resources to minority issues, civil rights and the continuing fight for racial justice as related to its main program areas. Upon Mr. Hallen's retirement, the Falk Foundation established an endowed professorship, The Philip Hallen Chair in Community Health and Social Justice, at the University of Pittsburgh in recognition of his dedication and accomplishments.The Chair alternates between the Graduate School of Public Health and the School of Social Work every seven years. Today Hallen continues to advise Pitt Public Health as a member of the school's Board of Visitors.
Professor Albert received a BA from Cornell University, an MA in Social Thought and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and an MSc from Columbia University. He lived and worked with the Lak people in Papua New Guinea, and wrote his doctoral thesis on the Ritual and Political Process of the Lak. He joined the Graduate School of Public Health as a Professor of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences in 2005, and became Department Chair in 2011. Throughout his career, Professor Albert has studied how poor health affects function and well being, and how social contexts buffer or intensify these effects. He has illustrated how poverty, race, education, and geography are the central social context for health because they generate unequal opportunities to be healthy. His recent work has focused on healthy aging and on community violence prevention. He serves co-Principal Investigator of the University of Pittsburgh CDC Prevention Research Center.
Albert has authored or co-authored 175 peer reviewed papers, written 32 book chapters, and edited five books on Aging, Public Health, and Public Health Research. He is a Fellow of the American Anthropological Association and the Gerontological Society of America. Appointment to a named chair is among the highest honors a university can bestow upon a member of its faculty. It recognizes the exceptional quality and importance of Professor Albert’s career-long commitment to conducting research intended to improve the health and functioning of vulnerable populations, his teaching, service and leadership, and his dedication to health equity - all supporting the underlying belief that all humans are entitled to good health.