GMU appoints Dean of College of Health and Human Services


Melissa J. Perry will start on August 1


May 19, 2022


Courtney Mabeus

Melissa Perry

The George Mason University College of Health and Human Services has named epidemiologist Melissa J. Perry as its new dean.

Perry has chaired the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at George Washington University since 2011. She is expected to take up her new role Aug. 1 after completing a Fulbright fellowship in Albania, GMU said in a press release Thursday. While at GWU, Perry also served as the acting 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 the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine in the GWU School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

“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 federal agencies and foundations, she has published over 150 manuscripts, technical reports, book chapters, commentaries and book reviews, and speaks frequently at professional conferences. I look forward to her leading our College of Health and Human Services into 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, farm workers and the public. She has also developed engineering and behavioral interventions to address risks to workers in meatpacking plants, construction sites and farms. Her lab at the Milken Institute focuses on reproductive epidemiology and hormone disruptors and she teaches students how to research the links between climate change and health.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’m thrilled to be joining George Mason University,” said Perry. “The College of Health and Human Services is making a real impact in health promotion and disease prevention, and I look forward to leading the college to the next level of national and international achievement and prominence.”

Prior to joining GWU in 2011, Perry was a faculty member at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health as well as the Medical College of Wisconsin. She earned a Master of Health Sciences and Doctor of Science degree from the Bloomberg School Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, as well as a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont. She is also working on a Masters in Business Administration at GWU.

Perry is a past president and current fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, chairs the review board for the Health Effects Institute, and is co-chair of the emerging science committee for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She also chaired the Agency for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Board of Scientific Advisors for Toxic Substances and the Disease Registry from 2014 to 2019.

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