BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie announced at the IU Board of Trustees meeting June 11 that he had appointed Dr. Aaron Carroll as the university’s inaugural chief health officer.
Carroll is a distinguished professor of pediatrics and associate dean for research mentoring at the IU School of Medicine and one of the leaders of IU’s COVID-19 Medical Response Team.
In his new role, Carroll will be responsible for leading and coordinating IU’s response to major health issues, including public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and long-term concerns such as mental health and wellness. He will also seek to identify emerging health issues so IU can take practical and proactive steps toward prevention or mitigation.
“Over the last year of our intensive and all-consuming efforts to keep Indiana University safe from the pandemic, as well as open and functioning as close to normal as possible, the need for a more systematic university-wide approach to future public health crises and to on-going medical and other public health issues has become clear,” McRobbie said. “Thus, after extensive consultation with the senior leadership of the university and its medical and public health experts, we have established the position of IU chief health officer to lead the effort to keep our campuses safe and healthy, anticipate future public health challenges, and implement new policies and procedures to effectively respond to them.
“Dr. Carroll has been a member of IU’s expert Medical Response Team from the outset, responsible for our enormously successful COVID-19 mitigation testing efforts. He has played a major role in our communications efforts concerning our response to the pandemic through his highly popular ‘Ask Aaron’ webinars and other activities. In this regard, he has done a superb job, and with the breadth of his experience and skills, he is the perfect person to be the university’s first chief health officer.”
As a member of IU’s Medical Response Team, Carroll has helped to oversee the university’s comprehensive science- and public-health-driven approach to managing and mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic across its campuses. This approach has positioned IU to return to mostly normal operations this fall.
“Helping to lead Indiana University’s COVID-19 response has been some of the most meaningful work of my career,” Carroll said. “I couldn’t be more honored or excited to continue to coordinate those efforts and lead IU in confronting other health and medical issues in the future.”
A health services investigator with an interest in improving pediatric outcomes, Carroll co-designed the Child Health Improvement through Computer Automation system that has improved pediatric care in developmental screening, autism screening, type 2 diabetes, obesity, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, and more. In addition to studying the use of information technology to improve pediatric care, his research also focuses on decision analysis and areas of health policy, including cost-effectiveness of care and health care financing reform.
He is the author of “The Bad Food Bible,” published in 2017, and the co-author of three additional books on medical myths. He is also a current contributing opinion writer at The New York Times, co-editor-in-chief at The Incidental Economist, an evidence-based health policy blog, and a previous contributor to The Upshot at The New York Times for six years. He also has a popular YouTube channel called Healthcare Triage, where he talks about health research and health policy.
He completed medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, a residency at the University of Washington and a fellowship through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program.