Professor Melissa Perry Elected President of American College of Epidemiology

WASHINGTON, DC (September 17, 2013)—Melissa Perry, ScD, MHS, chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS), has been elected to the position of president of the American College of Epidemiology (ACE), the professional organization dedicated to continued education and advocacy for epidemiologists in their efforts to promote good science and the public health. Perry joined the college in 1999 and became a fellow in 2009; she was elected to the Board of Directors in 2008, and to the position of secretary in 2011.

“This is a tremendous honor, and I’m delighted to be taking a leadership role in the American College of Epidemiology at such an exciting time,” Perry says. “With so many economic and policy changes happening in the United States, we as epidemiologists have an opportunity to advance the prominence of our profession as an integral part of improving the public’s health.”

Over the past 20 years, Perry has conducted epidemiology and public health promotion studies targeting a number of health conditions, including occupational injury and disease.  Her lab is currently conducting studies on the genotoxic and hormone disrupting properties of occupational and environmental pesticide exposures, and she is collaborating on pesticides studies in India, South Africa, New Zealand and the Faroe Islands.  She has published more than 100 scientific papers in epidemiology and public health.

The American College of Epidemiology ( sponsors scientific meetings and publications, recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of epidemiology, and advocates for policies and actions that enhance the science and practice of epidemiology. It also plays an important role in mentoring epidemiologists-in-training, and one of Perry’s priorities as president will be reaching out to young and aspiring epidemiologists to help them find mentors and network with colleagues.

“As a professor and department chair, I have been able to see firsthand that today’s students not only want to master new scientific skills – they want to use those skills to advance sustainability nationally and internationally,” Perry observes. “ACE can show young epidemiologists the many different ways professionals in our field use science to improve public health, and connect them with colleagues and organizations doing cutting-edge work.”

As ACE President, Perry will also work to make the college a visible player in Affordable Care Act implementation and other federal health initiatives. “As an organization, we have to make it clear that epidemiologic research is essential for advancing national health and science strategy,” Perry explains. “I will work to ensure ACE presence at federal health science meetings, and also to recruit federal epidemiologists as new college members.”

At the college’s upcoming annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, Perry will assume the position of president-elect. In 2014, she will lead program planning efforts for the organization’s annual meeting in the Washington, DC metro area and be inaugurated as president.  “I look forward to serving as president of the American College of Epidemiology, and taking advantage of the many opportunities to advance our field and the public’s health,” says Perry.


About the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services:

Established in July 1997, the School of Public Health and Health Services brought together three longstanding university programs in the schools of medicine, business, and education and is now the only school of public health in the nation’s capital. Today, more than 1,100 students from nearly every U.S. state and more than 40 nations pursue undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level degrees in public health.  The school now offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, which allows students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world.