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Boris D. Lushniak

Professor and Dean, School of Public Health

Boris D. Lushniak, MD, MPH, leads the School of Public Health, the University of Maryland’s youngest (est. 2007) and most racially and ethnically diverse academic college. As Dean, he has developed several new academic programs, including accelerated and dual degrees, launched a global health initiative and provided leadership in the context of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Dean Lushniak had a long and distinguished career in federal service, culminating in leadership roles as U.S. deputy surgeon general (2010–15) and acting surgeon general (2013–14). In 2015, he retired as a Rear Admiral from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps where he was an officer for 27 years. Among his credits in the USPHS, he was part of the CDC/NIOSH team that responded to the devastation at Ground Zero after 9/11, served as the FDA Deputy Incident Commander for the 2009 H1N1 pandemic response and led the USPHS hospital providing care to Ebola patients in Liberia in 2015.


  • Office of the Dean
  • School of Public Health

Areas of Interest

Core Faculty

Boris D. Lushniak, MD, MPH, has led the School of Public Health since 2017. He has developed several new academic programs to meet workforce needs, launched a global health initiative and is creating ways for students to take action and engage civically through global experiences and activities focused on promoting social justice and equity and dismantling racism.

Before coming to UMD, he served as professor and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biostatistics and Professor of Dermatology, F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, Maryland.  

Dr. Lushniak was the U.S. Deputy Surgeon General from November 2010 to September 2015, assisting the Surgeon General in articulating the best available scientific information to the public to improve personal health and the health of the nation. He also oversaw the operations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, comprised of approximately 6,700 uniformed health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote, protect, and advance the health and safety of our nation.

Dr. Lushniak served as Acting Surgeon General from July 2013 to December 2014 and was responsible for the release of the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health and the first ever Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer. From January to March 2015, he served as commander of the USPHS Monrovia Medical Unit in Liberia, the only U.S. government hospital in Africa providing care to Ebola patients.

Dr. Lushniak began his USPHS career in 1988 in the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) and initially served with the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Cincinnati, Ohio where he conducted epidemiological investigations of workplace hazards. In 1993, he completed a dermatology residency at the University of Cincinnati and established an occupational skin disease program at NIOSH. He also served on assignments in Bangladesh, St. Croix, Russia, and Kosovo, was part of the CDC/NIOSH team at Ground Zero and part of the CDC anthrax team in Washington, DC. In 2004, he transitioned from CDC to the FDA in the Office of Counterterrorism and was appointed FDA Assistant Commissioner for Counterterrorism Policy in 2005. He was deployed to Hurricane Katrina and also served as the FDA Deputy Incident Commander for the 2009 pandemic response. He was promoted to Rear Admiral, Lower Half in 2006 and attained the rank of Rear Admiral, Upper Half in 2010. He retired from the USPHS On October 1, 2015 after 27 years of service.

As Dean of the School of Public Health, Dr. Lushniak has presided over enormous growth of the School, developing several new academic programs, including accelerated and dual degrees, launching a global health initiative and, in 2024, a new Department of Global, Environmental, and Occupational Health. He provided leadership within and beyond SPH throughout the global coronavirus pandemic. In 2023, he was named co-chair of the Maryland Commission on Public Health, charged with developing recommendations to improve delivery of foundational public health services in the state.

Dr. Lushniak was born in Chicago to post-World War II immigrants from Ukraine. He was admitted to the six-year Honors Program in Medical Education at Northwestern University and completed his B.S. degree in 1981 and M.D. in 1983. In 1984, he completed his MPH degree at Harvard University. He completed a residency in family medicine in 1987 (St Joseph Hospital, Chicago) and maintains certifications in dermatology and preventive medicine (occupational).

A firm believer in leadership by example, Dr. Lushniak also promotes the core messages of the National Prevention Strategy via his active lifestyle. He is an avid long-distance bicyclist, runner and hiker. He resides in Rockville, Maryland with his wife Dr. Patricia Cusumano and is a proud father of two daughters.

BS in Medical Sciences (Honors Program in Medical Education)
Northwestern University, Evanston IL

MD (Honors Program in Medical Education)
Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL

Master of Public Health (MPH)
Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston, MA 

Select Teaching and Academic Awards

  • Honorary Degree: Heidelberg University, Tiffin, OH, June 2014, Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris causa)
  • Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Colonel George W. Hunter III Award 2013
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society (Faculty/Alumni inductee 2013)
  • Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health (Faculty inductee 2016)
  • Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Distinguished Speaker Award 2011
  • Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, Sustaining Membership Lecture Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Medical Research, November 2005

Select USPHS Awards

  • Presidential Unit Citation; September 2015; for service in the battle against Ebola
  • Surgeon General’s Medallion; September 2015; for service as Deputy Surgeon General 2014-2015
  • Distinguished Service Medal; May 2015; for service as Acting Surgeon General
  • Distinguished Service Medal; March 2014; for service as Assistant Commissioner FDA
  • Surgeon General’s Medallion; July 2013; for service as Deputy Surgeon General 2010-2013
  • Outstanding Service Medal; January 2007; Leading HHS response for Hurricane Katrina evacuees in San Antonio
  • Outstanding Unit Citation; January 2007; PHS response to Hurricane Katrina
  • Outstanding Service Medal; May 2005; NIOSH National research agenda on occupational skin disorders
  • Outstanding Unit Citation; January 2005; CDC Monkeypox Response Team
  • Outstanding Unit Citation; September 2002; PHS response to anthrax and World Trade Center

Other Awards (selected)

  • American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Clarence S. Livingood, MD, Memorial Award and Lectureship, 2019
  • American Medical Association (AMA) Distinguished Service Award, 2017
  • American College of Preventive Medicine Federal Preventive Medicine Medical Officer Award, February 2016
  • USUHS Distinguished Service Award for Service on the Board of Regents, January 2016
  • USPHS Commissioned Officers Foundation for the Advancement of Public Health, Health Leader of the Year Award, May 2015
  • Prevent Cancer Foundation, Special Laurel Award for Skin Cancer Prevention, April 2015
  • American Academy of Dermatology Presidential Citation, March 2015
  • American College of Preventive Medicine Ron Davis Special Recognition Award, February 2015
  • Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Service for Surgeon General’s 50th Anniversary Report on Smoking and Health, June 2014
  • Live SunSmart Foundation Apollo Award for Skin Cancer Prevention, May 2014
  • Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, Founders Medal, November 2013
  • FDA Commissioner’s Special Citation, FDA Response to the 2009 H1N1, June 2010
  • FDA Commissioner's Special Citation,  FDA Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Task Force, May 2007