The Ohio State University: Melissa L. Gilliam, MD, named Ohio State provost

The Ohio State University announced today that accomplished researcher, educator and higher-education leader Melissa L. Gilliam, MD, MPH, will be the land-grant institution’s next executive vice president and provost, effective Aug. 1.

Dr. Gilliam will join Ohio State from the University of Chicago, where she is vice provost, the Ellen H. Block Distinguished Service Professor of Health Justice, and professor of obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics. At Ohio State, she will become the first woman of color to serve as provost, leading the educational mission of one of the largest and most comprehensive universities in the country as its chief academic officer.

As vice provost at the University of Chicago since 2016, Dr. Gilliam has led efforts related to faculty development, chair development, recruitment and retention, graduate student mentoring, inclusive pedagogy, and diversity and inclusion. Her portfolio includes the Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellows Program and the Neubauer Family Assistant Professors Program. An interdisciplinary researcher focused on adolescent health and well-being, her research and scholarship have resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed publications.

“Dr. Gilliam is a national leader in multiple areas – from recruiting, developing and building strong, engaged and innovative faculty across all disciplines to ensuring exceptional student education,” said Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson. “She is a highly accomplished physician and research scientist with an academic background rooted in the humanities and a lifelong dedication to service.

“I am delighted to welcome her to our Ohio State family.”

Dr. Gilliam brings more than two decades of experience in clinical practice and higher education after earning a Bachelor of Arts, English literature, from Yale University; a Master of Arts, philosophy and politics, from the University of Oxford; a Doctor of Medicine from Harvard University; and a Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois Chicago. She completed an internship in general surgery at the University of Chicago and her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University.

Prior to her current role as vice provost at the University of Chicago, she served as dean of diversity and inclusion for the Biological Sciences Division at University of Chicago Medicine. Since 2012, she has served as the founder and director of the university’s Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health. From 2005 to 2017 she was chief of the Section of Family Planning and Contraceptive Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Since 2007, Dr. Gilliam has led the Program in Gynecology for Children, Adolescents and Young Adults.

She began her higher-education career as a faculty member at the University of Illinois Chicago, where she served as director of the Center for Reproductive Health; director of the Fellowship in Family Planning; and co-director, research and clinical cores, for the National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

“The opportunity to work closely with President Johnson and one of the most respected and academically robust academic communities in the world is a dream come true,” Dr. Gilliam said. “I look forward to engaging with the entire Ohio State community, especially the outstanding faculty, staff, students and partners that drive our academic mission.”

Dr. Gilliam’s work as provost will help advance the university’s strategic priorities, including increasing the number of net new tenure-track faculty and maximizing the academic experience. Through the RAISE initiative announced by President Johnson in February, for example, Ohio State will include a focus area on faculty whose research and creative expression efforts address social equity and racial disparities.

Among her many awards and honors, Dr. Gilliam is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, American Gynecological Club and American Gynecological & Obstetrical Society. She was named a Centennial Scholar of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago and received the Chicago Urban League Innovator Award, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee Service Award and Chicago Foundation for Women Impact Award. Additionally, Dr. Gilliam was included in the Newsweek/Daily Beast list of “Women in the World: 125 Women of Impact” and was voted by her peers as among the Best Doctors in America from 2007 to 2014.

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