Dr. Susan Scrimshaw, President

President Susan Scrimshaw

A graduate of Barnard College in New York City, Dr. Scrimshaw obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University, where she was a student of the famous cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead. At Barnard she majored in Latin American Studies and Anthropology.

Dr. Scrimshaw has held numerous leadership positions in higher education institutions across the U.S. Most recently, she served as president of Simmons College in Boston. Prior to her post at Simmons, she served 12 years as the dean of the School of Public Health and professor of community health sciences and anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Prior to those roles, she was associate dean of public health and professor of public health and anthropology at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

A respected and accomplished scholar, Dr. Scrimshaw's research areas include community participatory research methods, addressing health disparities, improving pregnancy outcomes, violence prevention, health literacy, and culturally appropriate delivery of health care. She is the author of five books and numerous journal articles, book chapters and reports.

In the public health field, Dr. Scrimshaw 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.

Active on a national level as well, Dr. Scrimshaw is a member of the governing council of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. When she was elected to the IOM in 1993, she and her father became the first father/daughter pair in the IOM. 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, most recently, the Committee on Health Literacy. Dr. Scrimshaw also serves as a member of the National Academy of Science (NAS) Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy (COSEPUP).

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.

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.

Dr. Scrimshaw was born in Rochester, NY 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). She is married to Allan Stern and has one daughter, a granddaughter, a stepdaughter and a stepson.