Professor Jim VanDerslice: An Agent of Change

Water scarcity, sanitation, and pollution are some of the leading public health concerns facing the world today, and from a young age Jim VanDerslice knew he would spend his life doing something about it.

As a junior in high school, Jim came to realize the potential of engineering as a lever. Engineering offers an opportunity to approach public health issues from a systems level. “A physician is concerned with the health of a single individual” he explains, “engineering offers the opportunity to approach human health from a community, national, or even global perspective.”

After receiving his Ph.D in environmental engineering from the University of North Carolina, Professor VanDerslice went on to serve on the faculty of the University of Texas-El Paso, and is currently an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and the Associate Chief of Research in the Division of Public Health at the University of Utah. His work in public health, and the impact of chemicals in the environment specifically, has only reaffirmed his commitment to working to help communities in the developing world.

Professor VanDerslice joined the board of the USAID-funded US-Pakistan Center for the Advanced Studies in Water in 2015, and brings to the organization a passion and dedication for using the tools of higher education to help solve public health issues in the world’s most impoverished regions. “The driving purpose of institutions of higher education is to provide the knowledge, the structure, the faculty, the connections, and the facilities to help educate individuals to better serve their communities—to become agents of change.”