School of public health

Dean Cleary retiring

Paul Cleary, dean of Yale School of Public Health for the past nine years, is stepping down when his term ends next June, or whenever a successor is chosen.

Under Cleary’s stewardship, Yale was named one of US News & World Report’s top ten “Best Global Universities for Social Sciences and Public Health,” and its endowment has grown substantially. Cleary is a health-care sociologist who earned his BS, MS, and PhD degrees from the University of Wisconsin. He taught there and at Rutgers University before joining the faculty at Harvard Medical School, where he was a professor of medical sociology. He came to Yale in 2006 and is affiliated with Yale’s Department of Sociology and the Institute for Social and Policy Studies.

Cleary, a member of the Institute of Medicine and the Connecticut Academy for Science and Engineering, will remain at YSPH as the Anna M. R. Lauder Professor in the health policy and management department and as director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. A national search for Cleary’s successor is under way.

The health effects of foreclosure

The recent foreclosure crisis has triggered a mental health crisis for many as they struggled to stay financially afloat. A new study by a YSPH researcher found that some people facing foreclosure experienced depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. The study sample was African American, predominantly female, and included many older and long-term homeowners. The research team interviewed 28 homeowners living in a northeastern US city who were experiencing mortgage strain, including being behind on mortgage payments, being caught up but still facing financial difficulties, and making mortgage payments at the expense of other necessities. The study found that in addition to stress associated with financial difficulties, participants felt stigmatized and embarrassed. They often concealed their trouble, leading to isolation and a failure to get support. Nearly half the participants met the diagnostic criteria for depression. The good news is that foreclosure prevention campaigns that emphasize the structural causes of this experience (such as job loss and predatory lending) may help to reduce stigma and improve mental health. The research team was led by Assistant Professor Danya Keene.

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