Susan C. Scrimshaw, PhD

Dr. Scrimshaw has served as President of the Sage Colleges since 2008.  She has worked in higher education since 1969 when she became a Research Associate at Columbia University while still a doctoral student. In addition to her numerous roles in the higher education community, Dr. Scrimshaw is a medical anthropologist whose work has focused on health disparities and health equity, minority health, health literacy, social determinants of health and has included areas ranging from reproductive health to global health to HIV/AIDS, health literacy and violence prevention.

Dr. Susan C. ScrimshawIn January of 2015, she began a three-year term as Co-Chair of the Institute of Medicine/ National Academy of Medicine’s Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education. In her role as Co-Chair she most recently presided over the release of a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report on A Framework for Educating Health Professionals to Address the Social Determinants of Health. When she was elected to the IOM in 1993, she and her father became the first father/daughter IOM members. She has chaired the IOM Committee on Communication for Behavior Change: Improving the Health of Diverse Populations, and served as a member of many IOM Committees, including the Committee on Health Literacy. Dr. Scrimshaw also served as a member of the National Academy of Science (NAS) Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy (COSEPUP).

Dr. Scrimshaw was honored in March with the Champion of Public Health Award by the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. In October of 2015, Dr. Scrimshaw received the Adam Yarmolinsky Medal for her service to the National Academy of Medicine, formerly known as the Institute of Medicine (IOM).  In December of 2014, she was awarded the Society for Medical Anthropology’s Career Achievement Award for helping to advance the field of medical anthropology through her career-long contributions to theory and method, and for her success in communicating the relevance of medical anthropology to broader publics.

A respected and accomplished scholar, Dr. Scrimshaw is the author of five books and numerous journal articles, book chapters and reports. In the public health field, she has served with distinction on the Chicago Board of Health and the Illinois State Board of Health. She is a former chair of the Association of Schools of Public Health.  Dr. Scrimshaw is currently a member of the Minority Health Council for New York State.

Dr. Scrimshaw serves in leadership capacities in numerous professional and academic organizations. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), as well as of the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology, and is a past president of the Society for Medical Anthropology. Internationally Dr. Scrimshaw has served as president of the board of directors of the U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Science.  She is currently on the Board of Directors of the Capital District Physicians Health Program (CDPHP).

For her work on the health of Latino populations, she received a gold medal from former President Vicente Fox of Mexico. Her many awards also include the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology and Distinguished Career Awards from the Society for Medical Anthropology, and the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Scrimshaw was born in Rochester, New York and raised in Guatemala until age 16, when she and her family returned to the Boston area, where her father chaired the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).