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Donald Simpson, PhD, MPH, named dean of the College of Health Professions

The people at Upstate are a key reason why Donald Simpson, PhD, MPH, accepted the position as the new dean of the College of Health Professions at Upstate Medical University.

“What appealed to me at Upstate is primarily the people—individuals committed to improving the lives of others; faculty and staff seeking innovative ways to deliver curriculum; and students committed to the communities they seek to serve,” he said.

Simpson looks forward to meeting more members of the Upstate community at his welcome reception, to be held Tuesday, Aug. 11 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Eastwood Atrium of Setnor Academic Building. He began his new position as dean and professor of clinical laboratory sciences on Aug. 3, succeeding Hugh Bonner, PhD, who retired in July after serving 20 years as dean.

I am very pleased about this appointment,” said Upstate Interim President Gregory Eastwood, MD. Eastwood says that “Simpson brings extensive experience in his discipline as well as in global health, a remarkable set of personal skills, and a collaborative spirit to his new leadership position at Upstate Medical University.”

Simpson’s spirit of collaboration will play a big role in his vision for the college, where he plans to expand upon the college’s current collaborations.

“We are poised as a college and institution to collaboratively integrate scholarly teaching, scholarly searching and scholarly serving,” said Simpson.  “I’m thankful and humbled by the opportunity to be part of the Upstate family and very excited about the pivotal role the College of Health Professions plays to improve the health of Central New York and beyond.”

Simpson comes to Upstate from the University of Arkansas for the Medical Sciences (UAMS Health) in Little Rock, Ark., where he held numerous leadership positions.

Most recently at UAMS, he simultaneously held the positions of chair of the Department of Laboratory Sciences in the College of Health Related Professions, where he also served as program director for the college’s Cytotechnology Program, and associate professor with university tenure; and as director with faculty appointment at the university’s Office of Global Health, Division of Academic Affairs.  It is in this position where he led an international team of educators to establish Africa’s first bachelor of science in biomedical sciences program at the Polytechnic of Namibia through a grant from the American International Health. He continues to serve that program as a member of the Curriculum Advisory Board.

Simpson also served UAMS as assistant professor of health behavior and health education in the university’s Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health, while holding a faculty appointment with the university’s Center for Rural Health, Regional Programs; and as adjunct research associate professor of pathology for the university’s College of Medicine.  He is the author/coauthor of numerous scholarly articles in peer-reviewed publications.

The recipient of numerous awards and honors, he served as a U.S. representative for Cytopathology Education to the Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of Hubei Provincial People’s Government, Wuhan, China, has been part of more than 20 funded projects and has been successful in attracting funding for educational grants for himself and his students. His entrepreneurial activities include leading projects that established international partnerships and licensing of both medical laboratory sciences and radiologic imaging sciences curriculum at the King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, National Guard Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Simpson received his bachelor’s of science degrees in microbiology from Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, La., (1989) and in cytotechnology from UAMS (1990); a master of public health degree in health education, health promotion and health communications from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, La., (1997); and his PhD in health sciences from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark., (2007). As his MPH Capstone project, he evaluated the breast and cervical cancer screening behaviors of female veterans in a rural state. Findings from his study added insight into cancer screening practices of female veterans – information that had previously not existed.

The College of Health Profession is one of Upstate’s four colleges. It offers 11 undergraduate and graduate degree granting programs to more than 160 students who are taught and guided by more than 40 members of faculty and staff.

The college has a successful track record for placing its graduates in jobs in their chosen profession. In fact, from 2010 to 2014, the average job placement rating within 12 months of graduation stood at an impressive 99.35 percent.

For more information about its degree granting programs and the community outreach initiatives, visit College of Health Professions.

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