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Shumaker Named Associate Dean for Research

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Sally A. Shumaker, Ph.D., has been named associate dean for research at Wake Forest University School of Medicine by William B. Applegate, M.D., dean of the medical school.

She succeeds James E. Smith, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, who has returned to his department full time.

“We are indeed fortunate that a clinical scientist of Dr. Shumaker's national and international stature has agreed to take on this major institutional leadership role,” said Applegate. “At this time of incredible growth in the complexity, breadth and depth of the science, our Office of Research provides both support and oversight for our entire institutional research effort.”

Shumaker, professor of public health sciences and internal medicine and founding director of the Women’s Health Center of Excellence, had been serving as associate dean for faculty services and career development. Applegate said he had started looking for a replacement.

“I am excited at the opportunity to help continue to grow the research program and to help our faculty be productive in these challenging times,” said Shumaker.

As a researcher, Shumaker played a major role in the Women’s Health Initiative, serving as national principal investigator for the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, which showed that estrogen and progestin doubled the risk of dementia in older women.

Shumaker came to Wake Forest Baptist in 1990 after six years at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she was health scientist administrator at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and was project director for three programs, and project officer for a fourth. NIH is the primary source of research funds at Wake Forest Baptist, accounting for three-quarters of the research budget of more than $157 million.

By training, she is a social psychologist, earning her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1979. Her research interests have centered around women’s health issues and quality of life issues over a broad range of diseases.

In 1996, she founded the Women’s Health Center of Excellence “to provide women in our community with comprehensive health care services in an environment sensitive to their needs.” The next year, the center became one of six centers in the nation to be awarded a contract by the U.S. Public Health Service to serve as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health.

She also has been interested in how social support helps people adjust to chronic diseases and perhaps experience more positive outcomes, and in prevention of those chronic diseases by reduction of risk factors.

“Dr. Shumaker has worked tirelessly to promote the development of younger faculty members and to provide the infrastructure needed to enhance the success of all faculty,” Applegate added. “She is particularly well known for her national and local contributions toward the promotion of the careers of women in medicine.”


Media Contacts: Robert Conn (; Shannon Koontz,, or Karen Richardson,, at 336-716-4587.

About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of Wake Forest University School of Medicine and North Carolina Baptist Hospital. U.S News & World Report in 2003 ranked Wake Forest University School of Medicine 29th in primary care, 40th in research and 14th in geriatrics training among the nation's medical schools. It ranks 35th in research funding by the National Institutes of Health. More than 100 medical school faculty are listed in Best Doctors in America.

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