About Dr. Melissa Simon
Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH is the George H. Gardner Professor of Clinical Gynecology and full tenured professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Preventive Medicine, and Medical Social Sciences at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is the Founder/Director of the Center for Health Equity Transformation and serves as the Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Associate Director of Community Outreach and Engagement at the NU Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Simon is an internationally recognized expert in implementation science, health services research, health equity, community engaged research and science workforce development. Her diverse portfolio of research encompasses over $50 million dollars in funding over 17 years as the principal, co-principal investigator or senior scientist across 8 NIH Institutes (NCI, NIA, NIMHD, NICHD, NLM, NIMH, NIDDK, NHLBI). In 2021, she was ranked 1st in the Blue Ridge rankings for OBGYN’s with NIH funding in the country. Dr. Simon has first-authored or co-authored over 300 peer-reviewed publications. She has participated in over a dozen National Academy of Medicine reports and discussion papers. Trained in clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University, Dr. Simon is a graduate of Rush Medical College, and received fellowship training in family medicine and reproductive health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
Dr. Simon has dedicated her entire career towards health equity scholarship, health justice and diversity, equity and inclusion and has been recognized for these contributions through election to the National Academy of Medicine in October 2021 and the Association of American Physicians in January 2022. As a physician scientist, Dr. Simon is a recognized thought leader and participates in various national advisory boards and review committees that have allowed her to help shape the direction of minority and women’s health and community engagement. She currently serves on the Community Preventive Services Task Force and previously served as a member of the U.S. Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF), where she helped lead the efforts to address Social Determinants of Health and Racism in the USPSTF recommendations and in the recommendation making processes. She has given long and extensive service to NIH by chairing several NIH study sections, including Chair of a NIH Standing Study Section – Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health (DIRH, now called SIHH) and special emphasis panels – including large scale center grants review, trainee and k-award study sections and NCI comprehensive cancer center site visit review committees. Additionally, Dr. Simon is a member of the NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women's Health, is Chair of the Health Equity Committee for the NCI NCORP cancer cooperative trials group ECOG-ACRIN and serves on several activities through the National Academy of Medicine, including the Board of Population Health and Public Health Practice, the Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the NAM Leadership Consortium’s Care, Culture and Decision-Making Innovation Collaborative.
Dr. Simon is a board member of several key health policy shaping entities in Chicago. She helped write legislation for the Illinois Breast Cancer Quality Screening and Treatment Act that led to a funded Illinois law focused on improving breast cancer quality and treatment. Dr. Simon was appointed by the Governor to help lead the implementation of this statewide law. Dr. Simon also had a role in other health policy efforts including the National Elder Justice Act. Thus, Dr. Simon’s work has directly impacted state and federal policies that have improved the health of thousands of low-income individuals.
As an educator, Dr. Simon has a highly successful, sustained teaching and mentoring track record. She has mentored over 200 students from high school through postdoctoral fellows and early career faculty in health equity, implementation science and community engaged research. Over 2/3 of her mentees are from underrepresented groups. In 2016, she received the highest recognition from the White House and the National Science Foundation with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentorship (PAESMEM). Dr. Simon's current faculty development and research education and training programs include the NIH FIRST Northwestern University Recruitment to Transform Under-Representation and achieve Equity (NURTURE) Program, T37 Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Training Program (NU-MHRT), the ChicagoCHEC Fellows Program, Career 911: Your Future Job in Medicine and Healthcare, the Health Equity Scholars Program, the Uterine Leiomyoma Research Center Lab Immersion Program, and the Women’s Reproductive Health Research Career Development (WRHR) Program.