Christina Paxson, the Woodrow Wilson School’s new dean, is a leading researcher on health policy.
Christina Paxson, the Woodrow Wilson School’s new dean, is a leading researcher on health policy.
Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications

The University named economics and public affairs professor Christina Paxson dean of the Woodrow Wilson School June 16. Paxson, a faculty member for more than two decades, fills the post previously held by Anne-Marie Slaughter ’80, who took public-service leave from Princeton in January to become the State Department’s chief of policy planning.

Paxson is a top researcher on health policy and the founding director of the Center for Health and Wellbeing at the Wilson School. She has held several leadership positions at Princeton, including chairwoman of the economics department and chairwoman of the master in public affairs program.  

President Tilghman said in a statement that after conducting a national search, administrators realized that “we had to look no further than our own faculty for a renowned leader in the field of public and international affairs.”  

“In every role she has taken on at the University,” Tilghman said, “Chris has exhibited the kind of vision, good judgment, and ability to get things done that will be needed to build upon the Woodrow Wilson School’s strengths and to steer us toward excellence in interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship.”

Paxson, whose research focuses on economic status and health outcomes in developed and developing countries, said she was excited about her new job. “During my time at Princeton, I’ve become deeply committed to the school’s mission of preparing students for public service and producing first-rate research that informs our most important domestic and international policy issues,” she said. “It’s been wonderful to see how the school has changed and grown over time.”

Paxson graduated from Swarthmore College and earned her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She arrived at Princeton as a lecturer in 1986 and received tenure in 1994. She has led several projects sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, including an ongoing five-year study of the effects of Hurricane Katrina on low-income parents.

Paxson is the 11th person to head the Wilson School. The last dean to be appointed from the Princeton faculty was Henry Bienen, who held the job from 1992 to 1994.