Randall Kramer Named Interim Director for Global Health Institute

Randall Kramer has served as DGHI deputy director for the past 6 years.
Randall Kramer has served as DGHI deputy director for the past 6 years.

Randall Kramer, professor at the Duke Global Health Institute and the Nicholas School for the Environment, has been named interim director of the Duke Global Health Institute, taking office at the end of June when founding director Michael Merson steps down.

Kramer, who has served for six years as the institute’s deputy director under Merson, will lead it while the university conducts an international search. The appointment was announced in a statement from Provost Sally Kornbluth and Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Eugene Washington.

The leaders said they were optimistic about the progress of the search, but that it was clear a new director would not be named before Merson leaves on June 30.

“As you all know, Randy has played an important and significant role as deputy director for the past six years, and we are confident that his steady hand will help ensure stability and forward momentum throughout all levels of the Institute as well as its numerous affiliations,” the statement read.

Kramer started his career as an economist, acquiring degrees at UNC-Chapel Hill,  N.C. State, and UC Davis. His first job out of school -- researching the effect farmers had on  Chesapeake Bay water quality-- sparked his interest in how economics can be used to influence people to be more  environmentally friendly.

He joined the Duke faculty in 1988. His research focuses on the economics of biodiversity conservation, water quality protection and environmental health improvement.

His current work focuses on environmental health interventions to reduce vector-borne disease. He leads a research team that uses household surveys, blood samples, mosquito trapping, decision analysis and implementation science to evaluate the health, social and environmental impact of alternative malaria control strategies in East Africa.

This past January, he was named the first Juli Plant Grainger Professor of Global Environmental Health.  The newly endowed chair was made possible through a gift from an anonymous donor that qualified for matching funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health matching grant. The professorship recognizes a faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary collaboration in research and teaching in global environmental health. 

Kramer has served as a consultant to the World Bank, World Health Organization, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and other organizations.

In 2004, he won the university’s Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award, which honored him for his work in translating his research on environmental protection into real world solutions and in his classroom teaching.