Melissa Begg became Dean of the Columbia School of Social Work on September 1st, 2019. She is deeply committed to the pursuit of better science for a better society through research, education, practice, and collaboration.
Dr. Melissa Begg is a population health scientist with 30 years of experience and a longstanding commitment to developing the strongest possible evidence base for human health and well-being. Her early research focused on technical methods for evaluating associations from correlated data (such as sibling and family studies), especially as applied to early life determinants of adult health. Dr. Begg has promoted innovation in graduate health professional education, including the implementation of a major redesign of the Columbia MPH curriculum, emphasizing interdisciplinary engagement, practical skill-building, and leadership training for health professionals at all levels. In collaboration with public health and social work colleagues, she participated in launching a new cultural competency training program for MPH students, co-authoring a manuscript on the results. She formerly served as Vice Provost for Academic Programs for Columbia University and Co-Director of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.
Throughout her career, Dr. Begg has developed and directed a number of educational and career development programs to support success in interdisciplinary team science. She has led two NIH-funded training programs to promote diversity: one aimed at undergraduates from under-represented groups, introducing them to careers in the population health sciences; and one aimed at under-represented junior faculty, providing grant-writing advice, career guidance, and mentorship. In 2006, Begg received both the University-wide Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Mailman School Teaching Award from the Graduating Class. She also received the 2013 ASPPH/Pfizer Award for Teaching Excellence. Over the past 15 years as an academic administrator, she has focused on convening interdisciplinary scientific teams, developing innovative curricula, creating mentorship programs, and enhancing diversity in the research workforce.
Dr. Begg received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Fairfield University and a Doctor of Science in Biostatistics from the Harvard School of Public Health.