August 2, 2021

Jeffrey Simms

Jeffrey Simms

Jeffrey A. Simms, MSPH, will serve as the Gillings School of Global Public Health’s interim associate dean of inclusive excellence. He brings a wealth of experience working with students, alumni, faculty and staff to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment at the Gillings School.

“The Gillings community is fortunate that Mr. Simms has said “yes” to serving in this role during this important transition,” said Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor. “His profound commitments to Gillings and to inclusive excellence are evident across the School.”

Simms fills the position created by Kauline Cipriani, PhD, who served as the School’s first associate dean of inclusive excellence since 2018 and has accepted a position as vice president for diversity and inclusion at Colorado State University. During her time at the Gillings School, she guided creation of the IE action plan and strategic planning, development and implementation of programs and approaches to enhance access, diversity, equity and inclusion across Gillings; and she facilitated development of inclusive leadership across the Gillings School’s Dean’s Council.

Dr. Kauline Cipriani

Dr. Kauline Cipriani

“Even as we welcome Mr. Simms into this role, we share our profound gratitude with Kauline Cipriani, who has accomplished so much in her three-plus years at Gillings,” said Dean Rimer. “Her wisdom and guidance have helped us navigate challenging times; her collegiality, action and support affirmed us during successes; and her focus on action and results have led us to be a better organization. We shall miss Dr. Cipriani terribly.”

Leadership at the Gillings School is in the process of hiring a search firm to aid in identifying the next leader of inclusive excellence and will be announcing the search committee soon; Simms has agreed to serve as associate dean for inclusive excellence during the interim.

“As a rural eastern N.C. native, double Tarheel, Gillings alumnus and thirteen-year faculty member in the Department of Health Policy and Management, I’m committed to working with all of Gillings to continue our efforts to progress us towards an inclusive community,” said Simms. “I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with our Inclusive Excellence team and the many volunteers from the various departments and school units who commit their time and energy to this worthy effort.”

Simms received a Master of Science in Public Health degree in 1996 from the UNC Gillings Department of Health Policy and Management, where he serves as director of student life and alumni relations. He has worked closely with many of the department’s students over the years, coordinating professional development, job placement, internships and professional networking and he maintains connections with the department’s alumni network.

As interim associate dean for inclusive excellence, he will continue implementation of the Gillings School’s IE action plan, which is a collaborative, living document that guides the efforts of the Gillings community in working toward inclusive excellence. It is a framework for action to provide training for public health professionals in an environment that fosters participation of all its members and perpetuates sustained equity and inclusion.

Before coming to UNC Gillings, Simms worked at the NC Department of Health & Human Services, where  he served as deputy director of the Office of Rural Health & Community Care and assistant director of the division of Medical Assistance. In these roles, he managed the department’s statewide Medicaid managed care program, and assisted with the development of the rural health care delivery system in underserved communities.

“During Associate Dean Kauline Cipriani’s tenure at Gillings, she has been very successful in the development and implementation of the Gillings Inclusive Excellence Action Plan which provides our faculty, staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders with a roadmap to inclusive excellence,” said Simms. “It is my desire and hope as interim associate dean to continue building upon this well-executed action plan and framework.”

Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

Visit our communications and marketing team page.
Contact with any media inquiries or general questions.

Communications and Marketing Office
125 Rosenau Hall
CB #7400
135 Dauer Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7400