Peter Berman resigns as director of UBC's School of Population and Public Health after Hawaiian holiday

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      A high-profile health economist recruited from Harvard in 2019 will step down from a prestigious position at UBC at the end of the day.

      Peter Berman announced that he's resigning as director of the School of Population and Public Health. He will remain a professor on the faculty.

      It came after a large group of academics at the school publicly chastised him for taking a holiday in Hawaii when public-health officials are discouraging nonessential travel.

      The profs described his action as "deeply irresponsible".

      "I took this difficult decision based on my assessment that the conditions of distress and division currently prevailing at SPPH make it impossible for me to continue to provide effective leadership to grow and develop our school, our community and our profession in my role as SPPH Director," Berman said in a statement on the school's website.

      "As I have shared with our community, I deeply regret any actions of mine that may have caused this situation," he continued. "I am grateful to the many of you who have shared messages of support to me directly or to others in our community and Faculty. I also respect the many different views expressed by those in our wider community."

      Berman mentioned that his decision to step down should be taken as his "strongest and most sincere exhortation to come together to heal the divisions in our community".

      "I have read and heard much about the suffering our community has experienced due to the terrible pandemic of COVID-19 and the concerns of many that we stay the course to defeat this dreadful disease."