BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Dr. Jerome Adams, the 20th U.S. surgeon general and a former Indiana state health commissioner, will visit Indiana University as the Kelley School of Business’ Poling Chair of Business and Government.
A presidential fellow and executive director of health equity initiatives at Purdue University, Adams served as a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. He also is a distinguished professor of practice in the departments of pharmacy practice and public health at Purdue University.
An anesthesiologist still practicing, Adams ran the Indiana State Department of Health before becoming surgeon general, where he led Indiana’s response to the Ebola, Zika and HIV crises; spearheaded the legalization of syringe service programs in the state; and increased funding to combat infant mortality.
“The selection of Dr. Adams as the Poling Chair reflects the Kelley School’s increasing influence in health-care-related careers through our many degrees and certificates and our Center for the Business of Life Sciences,” said Ash Soni, interim dean of the Kelley School and The SungKyunKwan Professor. “Our students and faculty will greatly benefit from his experiences and insights.”
The Kelley School offers more than a dozen degree and certificate programs for clinical and non-clinical professionals in health care, including its Business of Medicine MBA program that teaches how business, management principles and analytics can transform the industry and improve patient care.
During his upcoming visit Oct. 5 to 7, Adams will meet with undergraduate and MBA students associated with Kelley’s Center for the Business of Life Sciences, who are passionate about careers in life sciences or wishing to better understand how business and science interact. He also will meet with many Kelley professors who serve as the center’s faculty research fellows.
Arrangements also have been made for Adams to spend time with the Kelley School’s Fry Scholars and those involved with the Kelley Office of Diversity Initiatives and student government. He will tour IU’s Health Sciences Building and attend a lunch hosted by IU’s Hutton Honors College.
“My signature report as surgeon general concerned the interconnectedness between our nation’s physical and mental health and the health of our businesses,” Adams said. “Ensuring a healthy workforce leads to greater productivity and profitability. That’s why I’m so pleased to be able to speak with the business leaders of tomorrow as this year’s Poling Chair, and help them understand that healthy communities equal a healthy bottom line.”
A graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County, the University of California, Berkley, and the IU School of Medicine, Adams served as U.S. surgeon general from 2017 to 2021, leading the 6,000-person Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. He served as Indiana state health commissioner from 2014 to 2017 and previously was an IU associate professor of anesthesia and cared for patients at Eskenazi Health, Indiana’s oldest public health care system.
The Poling Chair was established in 1993 by the late Harold “Red” Poling, a Kelley School alumnus and Ford Motor Co. chairman and CEO from 1985 to 1994. Recipients of the Poling Chair are given the charge to stimulate discussion in the areas of leadership, the critical interactions between private business and government in matters of public policy, enterprise competitiveness, and economic growth.
Previous Poling Chairs have come from both the public and private sectors. They have included Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first female African American astronaut and an engineer and entrepreneur; Kristin Hahn, a successful movie and television producer, director, screenwriter and author; Deepender Hooda, a former member of India’s parliament; Elizabeth Acton, retired chief financial officer of Comerica and a former vice president and treasurer of Ford Motor Co.; Bob Eckert, former CEO of Mattel Inc. and Kraft; Samuel K. Skinner, former U.S. secretary of transportation and chief of staff to former President George H.W. Bush; former Sen. Evan Bayh; and Randall L. Tobias, chairman emeritus of Eli Lilly and Co., former vice chairman of AT&T Corp. and former chair of the IU Board of Trustees.