Mark Williams, Ph.D., Named Dean of the UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health

By Ashley McNatt

He succeeds founding Dean Jim Raczynski, Ph.D., who stepped down Dec. 31. Jay Gandy, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Environmental and Occupational Health Department, had served as interim dean.

“On the anniversary of the College of Public Health’s July 1, 2001 establishment, it is fitting to welcome Dr. Williams to lead the college that in not quite 20 years has created such momentum around public health approaches to address our state’s health needs,” said Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D., provost and chief strategy officer. “Dr. Williams brings wide experience in public health education and research — combined with enthusiasm toward our health improvement mission — that will benefit Arkansas.”

Williams’ public health career spans over 30 years, having published over 200 peer- reviewed articles and chapters. His research focuses on behavioral epidemiology, disease prevention, and health promotion in underserved and minority populations.

“I am honored to be selected as dean of the College of Public Health and look forward to leading the college as we seek to improve the health and well-being of all Arkansans through education, research and service,” Williams said.

Williams comes to UAMS from the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work at Florida International University, where he held multiple roles. From 2011 to 2013, he served as professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management. He was appointed associate dean of Academic Affairs in 2012 and interim dean from 2013-2016.

Prior to that Williams served in academic roles at the University of Texas School of Public Health, the University of St. Thomas, and the University of Rhode Island. He worked in the private sector as vice president for behavioral research at NOVA Research Company and vice president of research and development at Affiliated Systems Corporation.

Williams was one of the first to study the epidemiology and prevention of HIV in drug users and was an original contributor to the development of community-based prevention interventions with this population. His scholarly work includes studies of HIV transmission in injection drug users, disease transmission in social networks of drug users and men who have sex with men, and HIV prevention.

His research group was the first to establish injection drug use as a mechanism of HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. Also, his work was the first to establish the effectiveness of brief internet interventions to prevent HIV transmission among gay and bisexual men in rural areas.

Williams received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in 1976 and his Master of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska in 1979. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1983 from the University of Iowa.



UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.