Beth Virnig, Ph.D., M.P.H., named dean of Public Health and Health Professions

Published: April 19th, 2022

Category: Memos

David R. Nelson, MD
Senior Vice President for Health Affairs, UF &

President, UF Health

It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Beth Virnig, Ph.D., M.P.H., as dean of the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions. She will begin her new role on July 11. Dr. Virnig has a long and distinguished record of leadership, research, teaching, mentoring and service, and she is the ideal choice to lead the college’s programs in their continued rise in preeminence.

Dr. Virnig currently serves as a professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and director and lead of the school’s Strategic Global Public Health Programming, where she leads efforts with partner universities in Thailand, India, Mexico and Ghana. She is also the director of the Research Data Assistance Center, or ResDAC, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-funded program that provides free assistance to academic, government and nonprofit researchers interested in using Medicare and Medicaid data for their research.

A member of the University of Minnesota since 1998, Virnig has held numerous leadership roles in the School of Public Health, including senior associate dean for academic affairs and research.

In her research, Dr. Virnig examines how patient factors and system factors combine to influence care receipt and outcomes. Her research focuses on cancer care, women’s health, end-of-life care, and the measurement of racial and ethnic disparities in care and health outcomes among Medicare beneficiaries. Virnig’s work has been funded by the National Cancer Institute, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. She serves on the American Cancer Society’s Council for Extramural Research. She is the author or co-author of more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, including an article on breast cancer surgery that was named one of the 10 best papers of the decade (1999-2009) by the American Society of Breast Surgeons.

Dr. Virnig earned both her Ph.D. and M.P.H. in Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Carleton College in Minnesota. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Virnig held positions at the University of Miami and Dartmouth Medical School’s Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences.

Dr. Virnig succeeds Dr. Michael G. Perri, who has led the college for the past 15 years and has overseen the expansion of its academic portfolio to include a bachelor’s in public health, a doctorate in occupational therapy, and Ph.D. programs in biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, One Health and social and behavioral sciences. The college now enrolls nearly 3,000 students across 20 degree programs. The college’s extramural research awards have increased from $14 million to $45 million annually and the college is now ranked ninth in National Institutes of Health research funding among schools of public health at public universities. The college has benefited enormously from Dr. Perri’s visionary leadership and I am extremely grateful for his efforts.

I would also like to thank the PHHP Dean Search Committee, co-chaired by Isabel Garcia, D.D.S., M.P.H., dean of the College of Dentistry, and Colleen G. Koch, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., dean of the College of Medicine, for their hard work and valuable input during this process. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Virnig to UF Health and the College of Public Health and Health Professions when she begins her new role in July.

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