GMU appoints dean for health, human services college
Melissa J. Perry to start August 1
George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services has named epidemiologist Melissa J. Perry as its new dean.
Perry has chaired The George Washington University’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health since 2011. She is expected to start her new position August 1 after completing a Fulbright fellowship in Albania, GMU said in a news release Thursday. During her time at GWU, Perry has also served as interim associate dean for research at the university’s Milken Institute School of Public Health and serves on the faculty within its Department of Epidemiology. She is also a faculty member in GWU’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Perry to the leadership of our university. She is internationally respected for her work as an educator, researcher and administrator,” GMU Provost Mark R. Ginsberg said in a statement. “Her research has been well-funded by both federal agencies and foundations, she has published more than 150 manuscripts, technical reports, book chapters, commentaries and book reviews, and is a frequent speaker at professional conferences. I look forward to her leading our College of Health and Human Services during its next era.”
Perry’s research includes the impact of climate change on the properties of pesticides and other chemicals, as well as the mutagenic and hormonal effects of pesticide exposure on farming communities, agricultural workers and the public. She has also developed engineering and behavioral interventions to address risks to workers at meat packing plants, construction sites and agricultural operations. Her laboratory at the Milken Institute focuses on reproductive epidemiology and hormone disruptors and in she teaches students how to research the connections between climate change and health.
“This is a fantastic opportunity and I am delighted to join George Mason University,” Perry said. “The College of Health and Human Services is making a real impact in health promotion and disease prevention, and I am looking forward to leading the college to the next level of national and international accomplishments and prominence.”
Before joining GWU in 2011, Perry was a faculty member of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as well as the Medical College of Wisconsin. She earned master’s of health science and doctor of science degrees from Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School Public Health, as well as a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont. She is also working on a master’s of business administration at GWU.
Perry is a former president and a current fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, chairs the Health Effects Institute’s review committee and is co-chair of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s emerging science committee. She also chaired the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s board of scientific counselors from 2014 to 2019.