Claire E. Sterk


Emory University

Phone: 404-727-6013



Claire E. Sterk, PhD, is the 20th president of Emory University, having formerly served as Emory's sixth provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. With service on the faculty and in administration for 21 years, she is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Public Health. Her prior roles at the Rollins School of Public Health include chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, associate dean for research, and acting director and associate director of the Women's and Children's Center. She also holds joint faculty appointments at Emory in anthropology; sociology; and women's, gender, and sexuality studies.

As Emory's chief academic officer, Sterk was the primary liaison between the administration and deans and faculty on academic matters. She has focused on faculty development throughout her career, including the founding of the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence to assist faculty at each phase of their career. As provost, she chaired the Ways and Means Committee, implemented Emory's 2005–2015 strategic plan, and was responsible for tenure and promotion processes and faculty recruitment and retention. During her tenure, she guided Emory to successful reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Sterk's primary research interests are addiction, mental health, and HIV/AIDS, with a focus on community-based interventions. She is a leading international scholar in the fields of public health and anthropology with three books and more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters to her credit. A prolific NIH-funded researcher, she currently is principal investigator of Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health, funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In addition to service on several national editorial boards, she has held many professional leadership positions, including president of the Alcohol, Drug, and Tobacco section of the American Sociological Association, board member of the Society for Applied Anthropology, and member of the NIH's National Advisory Council of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

A popular lecturer both on and off campus, Sterk's teaching extends from the undergraduate to graduate level. Recognition includes selection for Emory's Great Teachers Lecture Series in 2000, as the Mary Anne Morgan Lecturer in Women's Health in 2002, and as a Distinguished Faculty Lecturer in 2003. Additionally, she is a popular mentor and has chaired or been a member of almost 100 dissertation and master's thesis committees since joining the Emory faculty. Complementing her teaching, Sterk believes in community service, as evidenced by her current participation as a trustee of the Woodruff Center for the Arts, the Atlanta International School, Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences, and The Rotary Club of Atlanta.

A native of the Netherlands, Sterk holds a PhD in sociology from Erasmus University in Rotterdam and a doctorandus degree in medical anthropology from the University of Utrecht. She speaks four languages.