Alumna Anna Maria Siega-Riz selected as dean of UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences

May 17, 2019

Dr. Anna Maria Siega-Riz (Photo by Dan Addison)

Dr. Anna Maria Siega-Riz (Photo by Dan Addison)

Anna Maria Siega-Riz, PhD, an alumna of and former professor and associate dean at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been named dean of the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s (UMass Amherst) School of Public Health and Health Sciences.

Siega-Riz, who has a long history as a leader and top contributor in the field, started her public health journey at Carolina: She received a bachelor’s degree in public health from UNC Gillings, a master’s degree in food and nutrition from UNC-Greensboro, and a doctoral degree in nutrition and epidemiology from the Gillings School.

Prior to accepting the position at UMass Amherst, Siega-Riz held a joint appointment in the public health sciences and obstetrics and gynecology departments at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine.

Her research at UVA focused on the connection between maternal weight and diet and adverse pregnancy outcomes. She helped establish a pregnancy database to serve as a biological repository for future studies related to the first 1,000 days of life and was part of a team that examined the effects of a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention for obese pregnant women. She also studied dietary patterns and health outcomes among Hispanic populations and researched nutritional factors associated with early childhood weight status.

Over the course of her career, Siega-Riz has garnered more than $11 million in research funding.

From 2010 to 2015, she was associate dean for academic affairs at the Gillings School, a professor in the epidemiology department and leader of the department’s Reproductive, Perinatal and Pediatric Program. As associate dean, she co-led the development of a number of innovative academic initiatives, including the Master of Public Health (MPH) Core curriculum, the Global Online MPH program and “Celebrate Teaching!” Week.

“Dr. Siega-Riz is so prepared to be dean — especially after serving as associate dean for academic and student affairs at UNC Gillings and then research dean at University of Virginia,” said Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor at the Gillings School. “She is smart, brave and visionary. I really look forward to being her dean colleague. Congratulations to Anna Maria and UMass Amherst!”

Siega-Riz currently serves on the National Institutes of Health Council and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Health and Medicine Division Advisory Committee. Previously, she served on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Federal Advisory Committee; the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Advisory Council; and the United States Department of Agriculture/Department of Health and Human Services Pregnancy Technical Expert Committee.

John J. McCarthy, PhD, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at UMass Amherst, said of the appointment: “With her breadth of leadership experience and outstanding research record, Dr. Siega-Riz promises to be a great dean of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences as it moves into its next era.”

Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

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