James E. Dalen, MD, MPH, emeritus vice president, dean and professor passes away

Jan. 19, 2024

College of Medicine - Tucson, Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health

James E. Dalen, MD, MPH, emeritus vice president of the University of Arizona Health Sciences and dean emeritus of the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson, passed away on Jan. 16, 2024. 

Dalen was professor emeritus of medicine and public health and served as dean of the College of Medicine – Tucson from 1988 to 2001. He served as UArizona Health Sciences vice president from 1995 to 2001. 

During his tenure as dean and vice president, UArizona Health Sciences and the College of Medicine – Tucson saw unprecedented growth and expansion in their core mission areas of education, research and patient care. Dalen was the visionary behind the establishment of UArizona’s School of Public Health, now known as the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. He is also credited as being a driving force behind the creation of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine, the Arizona Telemedicine Program, the Steele Children’s Research Center and the expansion of the Sarver Heart Center and the Arizona Arthritis Center.

Throughout his leadership of the UArizona Health Sciences, Dalen emphasized the critical need for health promotion and disease prevention in Arizona. He understood that many of our state’s pressing health concerns stem largely from poor health behaviors, and that public health programs save lives. 

Dalen and his wife Priscilla established the James E. Dalen, MD, MPH Distinguished Lecture for Health Policy in 2008 to honor his many lifelong contributions to the advancement of the UArizona Health Sciences and his role in establishing the Zuckerman College of Public Health. The annual lecture in his name is designed to raise awareness of public health challenges and introduce the campus community to emerging ideas and policy issues advanced by leading experts in public health research and practice. 

Dalen received his medical degree from the University of Washington and completed residency training in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital and the New England Medical Center. After completing a cardiology fellowship at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, he served for eight years as a faculty member at Harvard Medical School. He then became chair of cardiovascular medicine, and later, chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts, where he served until joining the College of Medicine – Tucson in 1988.

Dalen is survived by his wife, his son James Jr. and his daughter Angela. 

A service will be held at Vistoso Funeral Home at 2285 E. Rancho Vistoso Blvd. in Oro Valley on Jan. 29 at 1 p.m.