Melissa Begg, ScD

  • Dean of the Columbia School of Social Work
  • Professor of Social Work and Biostatistics
Profile Headshot


Melissa Begg is Dean of the School of the Columbia Social Work and Professor of Social Work and Biostatistics. She served as Vice Provost for Academic Programs for Columbia University from 2014-2019 and Co-Director of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (CTSA) from 2007-2018. Dr. Begg is a population health scientist with 30 years of experience and commitment to developing the strongest possible evidence base for human health and well-being. Her early research focused on technical methods for evaluating associations from correlated data (such as sibling and family studies), especially as applied to early life determinants of adult health. Dr. Begg has promoted innovation in graduate health professional education, including the implementation of a major redesign of the Columbia MPH curriculum, emphasizing interdisciplinary engagement, practical skill-building, and leadership training for health professionals at all levels. In collaboration with public health and social work colleagues, she participated in launching a new cultural competency training program for MPH students, co-authoring a manuscript on the results. She has developed and directed a number of NIH-funded training programs, including two career development programs to promote diversity: one aimed at college undergraduates, introducing them to careers in the public health sciences (the BEST Program); and one aimed at diverse junior faculty, providing grant-writing advice, career support, and mentorship (the PRIDE Program). Another of her programs offered mentorship in comparative effectiveness research methods to junior and mid-level faculty (the IMMERSE in CER Program).

In 2006, Dr. Begg received both the University-wide Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Mailman School Teaching Award from the Graduating Class. In 2012, she was elected a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and received the Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Award in Biostatistics from the Harvard School of Public Health. She also received the 2013 ASPPH/Pfizer Award for Teaching Excellence.

Academic Appointments

  • Dean of the Columbia School of Social Work
  • Professor of Social Work and Biostatistics

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