Studer named assistant dean of undergraduate degree programs at the Gillings School

April 13, 2021

Dr. Melanie Studer

Dr. Melanie Studer

Leadership at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health announced today that Melanie Studer, PhD, has been appointed to the position of assistant dean of undergraduate degree programs.  This is a part-time administrative position in Academic Affairs while she maintains her role as assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management (HPM) and director of undergraduate studies for HPM.

Studer has a bachelor’s degree in biology (Phi Beta Kappa) from Kalamazoo College (1997) and a Master of Health Services Administration degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health (2000). After a highly successful career in health care consulting, health insurance and hospital administration, Studer joined the Gillings School faculty in 2008 and served as the director of undergraduate studies for HPM from 2011 to 2014. In this role, she taught courses on the U.S. health system, including how to decode complexities and analyze system performance. In 2015, she stepped away from her administrative and teaching responsibilities to enter the doctoral program and, at the same time, joined the Gillings School’s academic affairs team as a graduate research assistant.

In her academic affairs role, Studer was instrumental in preparing materials for the Council on Education for Public Health accreditation, participated in the development of the new, integrated Master of Public Health core curriculum and began work on the development and implementation of the new Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) core curriculum.

In 2019, she completed her doctoral degree in HPM with a dissertation topic that examined undergraduate public health education as a pipeline to the public health and health care workforce. In the process of completing her dissertation work, she has been instrumental in providing several data-driven recommendations for undergraduate training to the Gillings leadership team, and on the national level has been an invited presenter at the American Public Health Association and at the American Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) annual summit on undergraduate education.  Her work focused the specific job tasks graduates are performing and the knowledge and skills required to perform these tasks effectively. The results of her research provide actionable information for strengthening undergraduate public health curricula at Gillings and supporting the development of well-prepared public health and health care professionals more broadly.

This new part-time administrative appointment will be effective June 30 and will report to Laura Linnan, ScD, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs, along with her continued faculty appointment in the Department of Health Policy and Management. Studer is currently co-instructor for the new, integrated schoolwide BSPH core course, “SPHG 351: Foundations of Public Health.” This course, taken by all juniors in their first semester at the Gillings School, introduces students to public health and helps them develop the knowledge and skills necessary to identify and describe public health problems.

“I am thrilled that Dr. Studer will be lending her considerable knowledge and practical expertise about undergraduate education to the role of assistant dean for undergraduate degrees here at the Gillings School,” said Linnan. “She has been an advocate for and an amazing resource on undergraduate training and workforce development, as demonstrated by her outstanding work in academic affairs before, during and since completing her doctoral degree in HPM in 2019. As such, she is a perfect choice to serve as the first assistant dean for undergraduate degrees at Gillings.”


Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at sphcomm@unc.edu.

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