Melissa J. Perry named dean of George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services

Melissa Perry wears a green and blue print blouse and a dark jacket while standing in front of a window with trees outside
Melissa J. Perry. Photo by Tani Marku

Melissa J. Perry, ScD, MHS has been named the new dean of the College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University. She will join Mason on August 1 after completing an assignment in Albania as a Fellow in the Fulbright International Education Program for Global Scholars.

Perry comes to Mason from George Washington University where she has served as a Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health in the Milken School of Public Health since 2011. She previously served as the Interim Associate Dean for Research at the Milken School of Public Health, and also has faculty appointments in the Department of Epidemiology, as well as in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Perry to the leadership of our university. She is internationally respected for her work as an educator, researcher and administrator,” said Provost Mark R. Ginsberg. “Her research has been well-funded by both federal agencies and foundations, she has published more than 150 manuscripts, technical reports, book chapters, commentaries and book reviews, and is a frequent speaker at professional conferences. I look forward to her leading our College of Health and Human Services during its next era.”

Her research includes investigation into how climate change impacts the properties of pesticides and other chemicals, and the mutagenic and hormonal effects of pesticide exposure on farming communities, agricultural workers, and the general public. She has also developed engineering and behavioral interventions to address risks to workers at meat packing plants, construction sites, and agricultural operations.  Her laboratory at the Milken Institute School of Public Health focuses on reproductive epidemiology and hormone disruptors. In the classroom, she teaches students how to research the connections between climate change and health.

"This is a fantastic opportunity and I am delighted to join George Mason University,” Perry said.  “The College of Health and Human Services  is making a real impact in health promotion and disease prevention, and I am looking forward to leading the College to the next level of national and international accomplishments and prominence.”

Prior to joining the faculty and leadership at George Washington University, she was a member of the faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health (1999 – 2011) as well as the Medical College of Wisconsin (1995 – 1999).  Perry earned her MHS and ScD degrees from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, as well as a BA from the University of Vermont where she was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa organization. She is currently a candidate for an MBA degree at the George Washington University.

She is Past President and a current Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, Chair of the Review Committee of the Health Effects Institute, Co-Chair of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Committee on Emerging Science, and recently completed a term as the Chair of the US Centers for Disease Control Board of Scientific Counselors for the Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.