Melissa Begg, ScD

  • Professor of Social Work and Biostatistics
Profile Headshot


Dr. Begg is Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Programs and Professor of Clinical Biostatistics at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She earned her doctorate in biostatistics from Harvard in 1989 and joined the Columbia faculty immediately thereafter. Her areas of focus include advancing interdisciplinary science, clinical research education, statistical methods in psychiatry and oral health, and analysis of cluster-correlated and sibling data. She developed and launched 2 training programs for clinical scientists at Columbia: the Master's track in Clinical Research Methods, and the Master's degree in Patient Oriented Research. In 2006 she became the Co-Director of Columbia's NIH-funded Clinical and Translational Science Award, which aims to bridge basic, clinical, and translational science in order to bring effective health strategies into practice more efficiently. Dr. Begg's teaching skills have been recognized on several occasions; she was inducted into the university's Glenda Garvey Teaching Academy in 2005, and received both the university-wide Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Mailman School Teaching Award from the Graduating Class in 2006. She was invited to join the ASPH/Pfizer Public Health Academy of Distinguished Teachers in 2007, and was elected to the Board of the Association for Clinical Research Training in 2008. She was appointed as Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Programs in October 2008, and in that role seeks to find ways of enhancing interdisciplinary research and education at the Mailman School and throughout the campus.

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Social Work and Biostatistics

Administrative Titles

  • Dean of the Columbia School of Social Work

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BS, 1985 Fairfield University
  • ScD, 1989 Harvard School of Public Health

Committees, Societies, Councils

Member, Council on Social Work Education

Member, Society for Social Work & Research

Member, International Biometric Society

Member, American Statistical Association

Honors & Awards

Presidential Teaching Award, Columbia University, 2006

Award for Teaching Excellence, Mailman School of Public Health, 2006

Fellow of the American Statistical ASsociation, elected 2012

Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Prize from Harvard School of Public Health Department of Biostatistics, 2012

Omicron Kappa Upsilon, Dental Honor Society, inducted 2012


Research Interests

  • Biostatistical Methods
  • Public Health Education

Selected Publications

Begg MD, Fried LP, Glover JW. Delva M, Wiggin M, Hooper L, Saxena R, de Pinho H, Slomin E, Walker JR, Galea S (2015). Measuring the impact of curricular change: Short-term results from the new Columbia Core Curriculum. American Journal of Public Health 105: e7-e13.

Begg MD, Bennet LM, Gadlin H, Moss M, Tentler J, Schoenbaum E (2015). Graduate Education for the Future: New Models and Methods for the Clinical and Translational Workforce. Clinical and Translational Science 8: 787-792.

Pfirman SL, Begg MD (2012). Perspective: Troubled by Interdisciplinarity? Science Career Magazine, Issue for April 06, 2012, accessed 06.21.2012 at

Meyers FJ, Begg MD, Fleming M, Merchant C Strengthening the Career Development of Clinical Translational Scientist Trainees: A Consensus Statement of the Clinical Translational Science (CTSA) Research Education and Career Development Committees Clinical and Translational Science 5(2) 132-137 2012

Begg MD, Vaughan RD Are biostatistics students prepared to succeed in the era of interdisciplinary science? (And how will we know?) The American Statistician 65(2) 71-79 2011

Kulage KM, Larson EL, Begg MD Sharing Facilities & Administrative Cost Recovery to Facilitate Interdisciplinary Research Academic Medicine 86(3) 394-401 2011

Huskins WC, Silet K, Weber-Main AM, Begg MD, Fowler VG, Hamilton J, Fleming M Identifying and Aligning Expectations in a Mentoring Relationship Clinical and Translational Science 4(6) 439-447 2011

Begg MD, Parides MK Separation of individual-level and cluster-level covariate effects in regression analysis of correlated data Statistics in Medicine 22 2591-2602 2003

Begg M Analyzing k(2x2) tables under cluster sampling Biometrics 55 302-307 1999

Desai M, Begg MD A comparison of regression approaches for analyzing clustered data American Journal of Public Health 98 1425-1429 2008