A Legacy of Public Health - Richard and Janet Southby

Drs. Richard and Janet Southby have made a generous gift of $500,000 to the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University (Milken Institute SPH.) The Southbys maintain close ties to Washington, D.C.,  and the George Washington University and have committed themselves to public health through their careers, education and community involvement.

Richard Southby

As one of the founders and dean emeritus of the Milken Institute School of Public Health, it is fitting that his legacy will carry forward in the Milken Institute SPH building opening this spring in Foggy Bottom.  Dr. Richard Southby began his journey in public health in his native Australia, where he had originally planned to go into hospital administration at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Victoria.  His career path, however, changed course when he attended Cornell University for his master’s degree.  He saw his future in the emerging field of health policy and developed a passion for putting more emphasis on public health on his return to Australia.

After receiving his doctoral degree in the Faculty of Medicine at Monash University in Australia, and holding teaching and research positions at Monash University and The University of Sydney, and being a full-time commissioner on the Australian Hospitals and Health Services Commission, he continued his career at the George Washington University when he joined the faculty in 1979.  He held numerous faculty and administrative positions, including executive dean and distinguished professor of global health in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Health Affairs at the GW Medical Center; chair of the Department of Health Services Management and Policy; Foundation Gordon A. Friesen Professor of International Health; and the Walter G. Ross Professor of International Health, among others. He continues his involvement at GW as chair of the dean’s council, College of Professional Studies; founding director and senior adviser to the Police Science Program; and academic representative to the NROTC Unit. He is also senior adviser to the Army ROTC Battalion at Georgetown University. As adjunct professor of preventive medicine and biometrics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, he directs the Interagency Institute for Federal Health Care Executives.

Janet Southby

Dr. Janet Southby (née Rexrode), who was born in West Virginia, was completing her doctoral degree in nursing at The Catholic University of America when she met Richard. Her career as a U.S. Army Nurse Corps officer included teaching in the Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing; director of nursing research; and chief, Department of Nursing, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and chief nurse of the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command. She retired with the rank of colonel in 1996. During her time in the military she completed tours in Vietnam and Korea, and she served as the first female senior military social aide at the White House. Her volunteer leadership positions have included president of the Walter Reed Society and the Army Nurse Corps Association. At GW, she was involved with the Medical Faculty Wives Committee for a number of years.

Dr. Southby received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh, a master’s in pediatric nursing from the University of Maryland, and her Ph.D. in nursing science from The Catholic University of America. A GW Friend, Dr. Southby is a member of the GW School of Nursing Dean’s Advisory Council.

The Southbys’ gift will be recognized with the naming of the Southby Conference Room, located in the dean’s suite, on the 7th Floor of the Milken Institute School of Public Health building.