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Charles S. Mahan


Charles S. Mahan (‘60 AB, ‘74 BS)

Charles S. Mahan graduated from West Virginia University in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He earned a medical degree from Northwestern University in 1964.

Mahan spent more than 30 years in public health and is recognized internationally for his leadership in health care delivery. In 1995, he was appointed dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health.

Since serving his residency at the University of Minnesota from 1965 to 1968 where he specialized in obstetrics and gynecology, he served on numerous state and national committees for public health care reform and education.

As Florida’s Maternal and Child Health Director from 1983 to 1988, Mahan was widely credited with being the major force behind the state’s decade-long improvement in its infant mortality rate. Since the mid-1980’s the state’s infant mortality rate has risen from second worst in the nation to surpassing the national average.

Mahan served as Florida’s State Health Officer from 1988 to 1995 where he oversaw 10,000 employees and an $850 million budget. He was instrumental in helping Florida Governor Lawton Chiles initiate the Healthy Start program to improve the health of babies and small children by combining education with the medical needs of women and children. In addition, his contributions included broadening Medicaid coverage for poor women and urging the expansion of public health programs.

As president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, he led the formation of the Public Health Coalition, which represents all public health organizations and provides a united front to Congress and the White House for public health reform.

Mahan chaired two national committees for the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists – the Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women and the National Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Committee.

In addition, he served as national project director for the Robert Wood Johnson Healthy Futures Program where he led efforts to improve maternal and infant health by instituting permanent change in the health care delivery systems of six states including West Virginia.

Mahan is also accomplished in teaching and research. While at the University of Florida, he led the College of Medicine’s nationally recognized Ob-Gyn student teaching program for five years and has served as a visiting professor at several other universities. He has published more than 70 articles and papers and has lectured extensively throughout the U.S. and in many foreign nations.

Mahan is a member of many professional organizations including: the Secretary of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality; the National Perinatal Association Board; and the Public Health Roundtable, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences.

His many awards include: the State of Florida Cabinet Distinguished Service Award for leadership of health recovery efforts after Hurricane Andrew, and the McCormack Award for National Leadership from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.