Melissa D. Begg

Vice Provost for Academic Programs
Professor of Biostatistics at CUIMC, Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University


Melissa Begg is a population health scientist with 30 years of experience and a long-standing dedication to developing the strongest possible evidence base for human health and well-being. She currently serves as Vice Provost for Academic Programs at Columbia University and a professor of biostatistics in public health; previously she was co-director of the Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (funded by an NIH CTSA award), where she led a suite of research education and career development programs. As Vice Provost, her office oversees University accreditation, approval processes for all new educational programs University-wide, educational agreements with domestic and international partner institutions, cross-school fellowships and awards, the support of interdisciplinary research and teaching, selected faculty leadership development programs, and the academic review of schools and institutes at Columbia. 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. She has promoted innovation in graduate health professional education, and developed and directed a number of NIH-funded training programs, including 2 career development programs to promote diversity: one aimed at college undergraduates, introducing them to careers in the population health sciences (BEST); and one aimed at diverse junior faculty, providing grant-writing advice, career support, and mentorship (PRIDE). Another of her programs offered mentorship in comparative effectiveness research to junior and mid-level faculty (IMMERSE in CER). Dr. Begg received the University-wide Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2006, as well as the Mailman School Teaching Award from the Graduating Class in 2006.  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 (where she completed her ScD in 1989).


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

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

Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health/Pfizer Award for Teaching Excellence, 2013

Areas of Expertise

Advancing Interdisciplinary Science, Training, and Mentorship; Graduate Health Professional Education; Biostatistical Methods in Health Research

Selected Publications

Begg MD, March D (2018). Cause and Association: Missing the Forest for the Trees. American Journal of Public Health 108(5): 620. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2018.304366

Ancker JS, Begg MD (2017). Using Visual Analogies to Teach Introductory Statistical Concepts. Numeracy 10, Issue 2, Article 7. DOI:

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.

Hessels AJ, Robinson B, O’Rourke M, Begg MD, Larson EL (2015). Building Interdisciplinary Research Models through Interactive Education. Clinical and Translational Science 8: 793-799.

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.

Cushman LF, Delva M, Franks CL, Jimenez-Bautista A, Moon-Howard J, Glover J, Begg MD (2015). Cultural Competency Training for Public Health Students: Integrating Self, Social, and global Awareness into a Master of Public Health Curriculum. American Journal of Public Health 105: S132-S140.

Galea S, Fried LP, Walker JR, Rudenstine S, Glover JW, Begg MD (2015). Developing the New Columbia Core Curriculum: A Case Study in Managing Radical Curriculum Change. American Journal of Public Health 105: S17-S21.

Hooper L, Begg MD, Sullivan LM (2014). Integrating Competencies and Learning Outcomes in Core Courses for the MPH. Public Health Reports 129: 376-381.

Sullivan LM, Hooper L, Begg MD (2014). Effective Practices for Teaching the Biostatistics Core Course for the MPH Using a Competency-Based Approach. Public Health Reports 129: 381-392.

Fried LP, Begg MD, Bayer R, Galea S (2014). MPH Education for the 21st Century: Motivation, Rationale, and Key Principles for the New Columbia Public Health Curriculum. American Journal of Public Health 104:1, 30-36.

Begg MD, Galea S, Bayer R, Walker JR, Fried LP (2014). Master of Public Health Education for the 21st Century: Design of Columbia University’s New Public Health Curriculum. American Journal of Public Health 104:1, 23-30.

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 (2012). 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.

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

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

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

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

Brown AS, Begg MD, Gravenstein S, Schaefer CA, Wyatt RJ, Bresnahan M, Babulas V, Susser ES (2004). Serologic evidence of prenatal influenza in the etiology of schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry 61: 774-780.

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

Matte TD, Bresnahan MA, Begg MD, Susser ES (2001). The influence of birth weight variation in the normal range and within sibships on IQ at age 7. British Medical Journal 323: 310-314.

Begg MD, Paykin AB (2001). Performance of and software for a modified Mantel-Haenszel statistic for correlated data. Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation 70: 175-195.