Dr. Bess Marcus, Professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, has been appointed Senior  Associate Dean for Public Health with the UC San Diego School of MedicineDr. Bess Marcus, Professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, has been appointed Senior Associate Dean for Public Health with the UC San Diego School of Medicine

Bess Marcus, PhD has been appointed Senior Associate Dean for Public Health with the UC San Diego School of Medicine. The new appointment recognizes the rapidly growing field of public health in academic medicine and its pivotal role in protecting and improving the health of individuals and communities through promotion of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention, detection and control of infectious diseases and assessing hazardous environments.

Dr. Marcus will develop a Public Health Institute to serve as a home for all public health-oriented efforts at UC San Diego. This strategic role is designed to promote public health research and education activities across the campus, foster interdisciplinary conversations and collaborations, focus the need for resources and oversee public health degree offerings at UC San Diego. The position will markedly enhance the stature of the university’s public health expertise, locally and nationally.

Dr. Marcus earned her MS and PhD degrees in clinical psychology from Auburn University, with a fellowship in Behavioral Medicine at Brown University.  She has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles. Her
colleagues have recognized her with numerous awards, including the “Women Who Mean Business” Award from San Diego Business Journal and the UC San Diego Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Award from UC San Diego.

For more than 25 years, Dr. Marcus has directed research aimed at promoting exercise adherence and understanding the acquisition and maintenance of exercise behavior. She developed and validated assessments for understanding the stages and processes of exercise behavior change, and has also developed interventions to promote moderate-intensity physical activity in community, workplace, and primary care settings. Over the past 10 years her research has focused on increasing physical activity among under served and vulnerable populations.

She has regularly participated in American Heart Association, American College of Sports Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health panels, which have created
recommendations and guidelines on the quantity and intensity of physical activity necessary for health benefits. She served on the Executive Committee for the Development of a National Strategic Plan for Physical
Activity and she now serves on the Board of Directors for the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance.

The field of public health is central to addressing some of the most pressing health issues we face today, such as rising health care costs and the need for greater prevention of disease and disability across the lifespan. We are fortunate to have Dr. Marcus in this leadership role and look forward to developing programs that will impact the health of our local communities.

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