Mary Guinan

Founding Dean, School of Public Health
Expertise: Community health, Sexually transmitted disease, Epidemics, Infectious disease

Biography

Mary Guinan is the founding dean of the School of Public Health 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.

Education

  • 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

Game Changers in Medicine
August 14, 2020
You may have heard the story of Edward Jenner, the milkmaids, and the discovery of the smallpox vaccine. But is that story really true? In today’s episode, Dr. Pillay pulls back the curtain to reveal some little-known serendipity behind the discovery of the world’s first vaccine. As scientists strive to find a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, does that long-ago medical breakthrough have lessons to teach us even today? Listen to find out.
Wall Street Journal
April 17, 2020
Doctors believe that the disease may have gone dormant and then come back, posing more challenges for testing
The Independent
December 16, 2019
The memoirs of Mary Guinan and Cornelia E Davis in the 1970s reveal their battle with curing smallpox in India, while fighting sexism along the way
The Conversation
November 26, 2019
Smallpox is one of the only diseases to have been eradicated by sustained human effort. But before it was eradicated in 1977, it claimed an estimated 300 million lives in the 20th century alone. The highly contagious disease was characterised by fever and a spotted skin rash. Although most people recovered, about three in every ten people died from smallpox.

Articles Featuring Mary Guinan

Two women stand reading a map on a wall
Business and CommunityJune 30, 2020
How UNLV’s School of Public Health took center stage in the coronavirus crisis.
Mary Guinan, in traditional dress in an Afghan refugee camp
PeopleMarch 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.
Campus NewsDecember 3, 2015
From law to health to advocacy to science, UNLV professors tackle HIV prevention, education and treatment both domestically and abroad.
Business and CommunityFebruary 12, 2014
UNLV professors weigh in on some of the state’s big battles and quiet victories in community health.