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Brown professor elected to the National Academy of Medicine’s class of 2022

Megan Ranney recognized for mentoring skills, public health work

<p>Megan Ranney previously worked with the National Academy of Medicine on initiatives surrounding science communication, COVID-19 and firearm injury violence prevention.</p><p>Courtesy of Megan Ranney</p>

Megan Ranney previously worked with the National Academy of Medicine on initiatives surrounding science communication, COVID-19 and firearm injury violence prevention.

Courtesy of Megan Ranney

Megan Ranney MPH ’10, deputy dean of the School of Public Health, practicing emergency medicine physician and professor of emergency medicine, behavioral and social sciences, and health services, policy and practice, was one of 100 new members elected to the National Academy of Medicine’s class of 2022 last week. 

The NAM is an “an organization that represents the highest quality of … medical and public health science across the United States,” Ranney said. “It's absolutely … a breathtaking class of people who I have deeply admired for years.” 

“Being elected to the National Academy of Medicine is a tremendous honor,” she added. 

New members elected to the NAM are chosen based on their “major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health,” Dana Korsen, director of media relations at the NAM, wrote in an email to The Herald.

Ranney said that her election “serves as … a national attestation to the impact of our scholarship and practice here at Brown.” 

Ranney’s appointment recognizes her work as a “national public health leader and communicator who has brought deeper understanding of public health challenges and … changed public health paradigms,” Korsen wrote. 

Previously, Ranney worked with the NAM on initiatives surrounding science communication, COVID-19 and firearm injury violence prevention. She said that being elected to the NAM will give her the “great ability to be more involved in the National Academy to influence research agendas as well as policy on a national and international stage” while also collaborating “with some … incredible folks across the world.”

Ranney co-founded the nonprofit American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine in 2017, and serves as their senior strategic advisor. She also created the Brown-Lifespan Center for Digital Health in 2019 and co-founded GetUsPPE.org in 2021 to help frontline workers and underserved communities get access to personal protective equipment in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I've been interested in public health since before I knew that was what it was called,” Ranney said. As “a junior scientist, you dream of someday being elected (to the NAM), and so it's just so meaningful” once the election happens, she added.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree at Harvard University, Ranney served in the Peace Corps working on HIV/AIDS prevention in West Africa during the HIV epidemic, before beginning medical school at Columbia University and eventually getting her master’s in public health at Brown. 

“In the Peace Corps, I saw firsthand how important being community centered was in developing both prevention and treatment plans — and that's just so core to public health,” Ranney said.

Maddie McCarthy ’24, a health and human biology and medical anthropology concentrator, completed two years of independent study and an Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award project with Ranney. The project she assisted with, under Ranney’s mentorship, involved screening patients at Hasbro Children's Hospital Emergency Department for a study focusing on preventing peer violence and depressive symptoms among at-risk adolescents.

Ranney makes “herself available to her mentees, including me, in ways that I think are a rare occurrence at the college level,” McCarthy said. “She gets a lot of emails a day but I know if she sees an email from me or one of her other mentees she's usually answering it within minutes.”

Following her independent study and UTRA with Ranney, McCarthy took a year off from school to do research in California, during which she “frequently … (thought) about the little pearls of wisdom” Ranney shared during her mentorship.

“She is very radiant when she goes in and introduces herself to a patient,” McCarthy said. “If I was her patient, I would feel a degree of safety … (she) just commands the room, so I was like, ‘How do I emulate that?’”

Ranney’s “career has really been something to watch the past couple years, and … I'm extremely proud,” McCarthy said. “The path that she's paving is … really touching (and) inspiring.”

Correction: A previous version of this story contained an out-of-date title for Deputy Dean of the School of Public Health Megan Ranney. The Herald regrets the error.

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