Dr. Muge Akpinar-Elci has accepted the offer to serve as the next dean of the recently accredited and renamed School of Public Health, formerly the School of Community Health Sciences. She begins her new post at the University on August 1, 2021.
Dr. Muge Akpinar-Elci comes to the University following a very successful tenure as associate dean of the College of Health Sciences at Old Dominion University. She succeeds Dr. Trudy Larson, who has served as dean for the School of Community Health Sciences since 2017. In 2020, Dean Larson announced she would be retiring.
“As a culturally competent, caring, inclusive, and driven leader, I move the vision forward and leverage resources for the benefit of the team and the community it serves,” Akpinar-Elci said. “I am honored for the opportunity to lead and create a culturally inclusive environment at the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada, Reno.”
Dr. Akpinar-Elci received her medical degree (MD) from Dokuz Eylul University, School of Medicine in Turkey and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical. She completed her residency training in Pulmonology and fellowship in Occupational Medicine in Turkey. Dr. Akpinar-Elci came to the United States in 2000 as a visiting foreign scientist to serve in U.S. Federal Government agencies, first in the NIH and later in the CDC. Between 2008 and 2013, she worked in the Caribbean. During her career, she has worked for NIH, CDC/NIOSH, and East Carolina University/ Agromedicine Institute. In her last position, she was an associate professor and Environmental and Occupational Health Track Director at St George's University School of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in Grenada. She was also a director of WHO Collaborating Center for Environmental and Occupational Health. Prior to becoming associate dean, she was professor and chair of the School of Community and Environmental Health and director of the Center for Global Health at Old Dominion University.
Dr. Akpinar-Elci brings extensive experience in teaching, curriculum development, community-based research and publishing, most recently a lead faculty/senior author on “The Role of Maternal Prepregnancy Body Mass Index in Breastfeeding Outcomes: A Systematic Review,” and “Occupational Health and Safety Practices among Dental Hygienists Before and During COVID-19 Pandemic.”
Dr. Akpinar-Elcistrives to produce sustainable solutions and to significantly impact the lives of people from vulnerable communities around the world.
"As a public health practitioner, scholar, ethnic minority and a female, I understand the importance of
inclusiveness, equality and diversity," she said. "My lived experience give me a genuine passion for public health and compassion for people in need, especially for personal and global health."
She prides herself as being a servant and inclusive leader with a vision. She has a history of success in mentoring students and faculty. In particular, she has worked to develop minority faculty members towards leadership positions in academia and has worked with underrepresented faculty and students towards fulfilling their career aspirations.
Trudy Larson, M.D., was appointed dean of the School of Community Health Sciences following an impressive 27-year career at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine where she served as a professor, former chair of the Department of Pediatrics, and also served as an associate dean.
"I wish to express my sincere appreciation to Dean Trudy Larson for her excellent leadership," University Provost Jeff Thompson said.
As a pediatric infectious disease specialist, she has spent her career focusing on HIV/AIDS and immunizations and has contributed to both fields in research, education and service. She is one of the founders and is the current Medical Director of the HOPES clinic providing medical services to those with HIV/AIDS. In her capacity as co-Medical Director for the AIDS Education and Training Center at the University, member of the Northern Nevada Immunization Coalition and medical consultant to the Washoe County District Health Department, she has taken the lead in speaking to professional audiences and the general public on topics such as AIDS, vaccination, disease outbreaks, bioterrorism, sex education, just to name a few.
"I hope you will join me in thanking Dr. Larson for her exceptional service and in offering Dr. Muge Akpinar-Elci a very warm welcome to the University of Nevada, Reno and the northern Nevada community," Provost Thompson said.