Roberta B. Ness, MD, MPH
Dean, School of Public Health
M. David Low Chair in Public Health
Roberta B. Ness, MD, MPH, a recognized expert in women’s health research, became dean of The University of Texas School of Public Health in November 2008. She is the school’s fourth dean since it was established in 1969. Dr. Ness also holds the M. David Low Chair in Public Health and is a professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Disease Control. Dr. Ness is also vice president of innovation for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Epidemiology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and adjunct professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at The University of Texas Medical School, a part of UTHealth. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science, a fellow of the American College of Physicians and past-president of the American College of Epidemiology.
Dr. Ness was formerly chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health where she was a professor of epidemiology, medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology. She also served as director of the Epidemiology of Women’s Health Program in the Department of Epidemiology. Dr. Ness was on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh beginning in 1993 and served as interim dean from 2005-2006. Prior to 1993 she was on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Ness received her MD from Cornell University and her MPH from Columbia University. She has been at the forefront of women’s health research, being one of the first to propose the research paradigm now termed “gender based biology” in her book titled, Health and Disease among Women (Oxford U Press, 1999). In 200 peer-reviewed publications and over 20 federally funded grants, Dr. Ness has explored the epidemiology of ovarian cancer, preeclampsia and pelvic inflammatory disease; adverse pregnancy and perinatal outcomes; links between reproductive history and cardiovascular disease; and bacterial sexually transmitted infections. Dr. Ness is a frequent advisor to the National Institutes of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Department of Defense. She has taken part in several reports for the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science.
Dr. Ness is past-president of the American College of Epidemiology and has served as a member of its board of directors since 2004. Recently, she became the founding chair of the Joint Policy Committee of the Societies of Epidemiology – the first organization to coordinate joint policy actions among 14 epidemiology societies. Dr. Ness is an associate editor of the American Journal of Epidemiology, and on the editorial boards of Annals of Epidemiology, and WHO STD Bulletin. She is an elected member of the prestigious American Society for Clinical Investigation, Delta Omega Honorary, and the American Epidemiologic Society. Other honors include a 1996 Leadership Award from the Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania and the 2006 Laureate Award from the American College of Physicians. She was selected by the Society for General Internal Medicine as the 2008 Distinguished Professor of Women’s Health.