UF PHHP welcomes Dean Beth Virnig

Dean Virnig Welcome breakfast
Dr. Virnig met with faculty and staff at a welcome breakfast July 14. Photo by Louis Brems.

Beth Virnig, Ph.D., M.P.H., joined the University of Florida July 11 as dean of the College of Public Health and Health Professions, the sixth in the college’s 64-year history.

She most recently served as a professor in the division of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and as director and lead of the school’s Strategic Global Public Health Programming, where she guided efforts with partner universities in Thailand, India, Mexico and Ghana. Other UMN School of Public Health leadership roles included senior associate dean for academic affairs and research, and director of the Research Data Assistance Center, or ResDAC, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-funded program providing free assistance to academic, government and nonprofit researchers interested in using Medicare and Medicaid data in their work.

“Dr. Virnig has demonstrated she is a collaborative leader who understands the importance of working across health disciplines and the entire university in order to best serve the needs of our students and communities,” said David R. Nelson, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “I am confident that Dr. Virnig’s leadership will result in exciting new opportunities for the College of Public Health and Health Professions.”

Habitat for Humanity volunteering
Dr. Virnig joined Master of Public Health students at a volunteer event with Alachua Habitat for Humanity on July 16. Photo by Niccole Smith.

Virnig’s research examines how patient factors and system factors combine to influence care 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. Her 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.

“I am thrilled to join the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions, and I am excited to become part of the Gator Nation and work with the talented faculty, students and other professionals at PHHP,” Virnig said.