Dr. Randy Wykoff has become the face of public health in Appalachia and around Tennessee. His leadership has brought East Tennessee State University (ETSU) to the forefront of health care research and community engagement, and his achievements span across academic, non-profit and government positions.
Dr. Wykoff received his medical degree and a Master of Public Health in Tropical Medicine from Tulane University and residency training in pediatrics (University of Virginia) and in public health and tropical medicine (Tulane). He is board certified in both pediatrics and preventive medicine and has certification in tropical medicine.
Dr. Wykoff served as the Founding Dean of ETSU’s College of Public Health, the first school for Public Health in Tennessee or Central Appalachia. The University has been recognized with the Delta Omega Award for the most innovative public health curriculum in the Nation (2017) and the U.S. Public Health Service award for Excellence in Interprofessional Education Collaboration (2018). Dr. Wykoff assumed the role of “Most Interesting Dean in the World” to promote an innovative and alternative way to focus attention on COVID-19.
He was previously the Senior Vice President for International Operations at Project HOPE, overseeing health promotion and disease prevention activities carried out by over 500 employees in over 30 countries. Dr. Wykoff served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he oversaw the release and implementation of Healthy People 2010, and the first Surgeon General’s Report on Obesity. He was awarded the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service and the Surgeon General’s Medallion. He also served for 11 years at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—seven years as the first Associate Commissioner for AIDS and Special Health Issues and four as the Associate Commissioner for Operations. He received numerous awards, including the FDA’s highest award—the Award of Merit.
Dr. Wykoff has been committed to serving the people of Tennessee and the Nation with a collaborative, long-term approach. He has provided over 175 public and professional presentations, talking extensively about the socioeconomic factors that impact health. He was also co-editor of the book, Appalachian Health: Culture, Challenges and Capacity and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Appalachian Health. Dr. Wykoff served on Governor Haslam’s Health and Wellness Task Force, Governor Lee’s Rural Health Task Force and as the acting executive director of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport. In addition to serving on a range of local and regional committees, Dr. Wykoff has remained committed to living a balanced life with his wife and five children. He has earned his black belt in two styles of Kung Fu and has been a part of the Hummingtree Band since 1986, playing across the region.