Jeffery DiGiovanni, a communications sciences and disorders scholar with extensive higher education experience, has been named dean of the School of Health Professions (SHP) in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS).
DiGiovanni comes to Rutgers having served as the acting associate dean of research for the College of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. He also was a professor and chair of the college’s Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders.
Before his tenure at Cincinnati, DiGiovanni held positions as an associate professor, interim department chair and chief clinical officer at Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions. He is expected to begin his new leadership role at Rutgers in October.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. DiGiovanni to the Rutgers School of Health Professions, one of the nation’s best, largest, and most comprehensive schools of the health professions,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of RBHS. “With his extensive background in research, innovation, and clinical practice we look forward to elevating this school to an even greater level of accomplishment under his leadership.”
DiGiovanni assumes the role from Alma Merians, who has been serving as the interim dean at SHP since October. He will lead a health professions school that has surged in the national rankings and research growth.
As the school’s new chief academic officer reporting to the chancellor, DiGiovanni will oversee SHP’s undergraduate and graduate programs to prepare students for successful careers in health care. He also will work closely with faculty, staff and students to advance the school’s research and scholarship initiatives, which aim to improve patient outcomes, patient experience and advance the healthcare profession.
“As a nationally renowned university, Rutgers has an outstanding reputation for delivering educational excellence, cutting-edge research, high-quality care, and the advancement of medical and health science educational imperatives,” said DiGiovanni.
“I am honored and delighted to accept the opportunity to lead the development of the School of Health Professions with such talented students and visionary colleagues in an incredibly collaborative environment.”
An author of more than 40 peer-reviewed articles and books, DiGiovanni’s research focuses on working memory, attention performance and models for persons with normal and impaired hearing. He is recognized as a thought leader and has presented his research both nationally and internationally.
He also brings a record of securing grants to SHP, having obtained nearly $8 million for research involving hearing and speech disorders. DiGiovanni holds two patents and founded a life sciences company and marketed a novel medical device to treat tinnitus. His past professional service includes participation in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Audiology Advisory Council.
DiGiovanni received his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and his master’s degree and his doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota. He holds a professional certificate in audiology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Having lived in the midwestern United States for nearly 25 years, DiGiovanni and his wife Laurel will relocate to New Jersey. They are avid cyclists and in their free time enjoy mountain biking.
His appointment follows an extensive national search led by RBHS academic leaders and SHP faculty that attracted a number of well-qualified and diverse candidates, university officials said. Cecile Feldman, dean of the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine, served as the search committee’s chair.
“I am so pleased with the work of my colleagues on the search committee. We conducted a national search and, in that process, interviewed some of the nation’s best and brightest health care university administrators,” Feldman said.
“For all of Dr. DiGiovanni's professional accomplishments, what impressed us the most was his devotion to enhancing SHP’s academic excellence, championing diversity and advancing health care education and research.”
Merians will continue as SHP’s interim dean until October. She will then return to the faculty in the school’s Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences Department. “I want to extend my thanks to interim dean Alma Merians for her stewardship of SHP through this transition period,” Strom said.