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Mary Guinan

Founding Dean, School of Community Health Sciences

Expertise: Community health, Sexually transmitted disease, Epidemics, Infectious disease


Mary Guinan is the founding dean of the School of Community Health Sciences at UNLV. She is a physician/scientist and a professor of epidemiology and community health. She was among the first scientists in America to identify the emerging AIDS cases of the 1980s as part of an epidemic and has been a leading researcher and educator on sexually transmitted diseases for more than 30 years. 

Working extensively to improve the health of all Nevadans, Guinan led an exhaustive study of the childhood leukemia cluster, which affected the rural Nevada town of Fallon. She also played a substantial role in getting Clark County's water supply fluoridated.

During her 20-year career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), she became the first woman to serve as chief scientific advisor to the director of the CDC.

As founding dean of the School of Community Health Sciences, Guinan is passionate about public health. Her complex mission involves working in a network with local, state, and federal health authorities, conducting scientific research, eliminating health gaps between socioeconomic and ethnic groups, and providing quality education for students and the public.

Board Certification

Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, 1977, and the subspecialty Infectious Diseases, 1978.

American Board Preventive Medicine and Public Health, 1999.

Professional Honor

Elected to Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America in 1981 for excellence in research.


  • B.A., Hunter College, City University of New York
  • M.D., Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Ph.D., Physiology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas

Mary Guinan In The News

May 31, 2016

Stories of inspiring female scientists who have cracked the glass ceiling are much in demand. Mary Guinan's Adventures of a Female Medical Detective ticks that box — and is a rip-roaring read. An epidemiologist with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, for decades, Guinan was involved in global smallpox eradication and served as its first female chief scientific adviser. She has also had a distinguished career in HIV/AIDS research as one of the first US scientists to identify early AIDS cases as harbingers of a new epidemic.

May 31, 2016

Their socio-economic standing aside, the outbreak of the Zika virus in Brazil in the past 12 months has drawn greater cause for concern to public health.

May 31, 2016

Summer colds are the worst.

You’re not sure how you caught one, but you did — and now you’d love to know where it came from. Or maybe that’s one of those medical mysteries, the kind that Mary Guinan, Ph.D., M.D. solved. In her new book “Adventures of a Female Medical Detective” (with Anne D. Mather), she takes you on some not-so-cold cases.

May 2, 2016

The last time KNPR caught up with Mary Guinan, it was in honor of World Aids Day, and we talked to her about her working with some of the first AIDS patients as a scientist with the Centers for Disease Control.

Articles Featuring Mary Guinan

Mary Guinan, in traditional dress in an Afghan refugee camp
Mar 29, 2016

When her plans to become an astronaut did not pan out, Mary Guinan created an equally impressive legacy eradicating diseases and founding a school.

Dec 3, 2015
Campus News

From law to health to advocacy to science, UNLV professors tackle HIV prevention, education and treatment both domestically and abroad.

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