FAMU Names Mary Simmons Dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences

August 18, 2023
Dr. Mary Simmons
Dr. Mary Simmons

By Deidre Williams

Florida A&M University (FAMU) has announced the appointment of Mary Simmons, Ph.D., RRT, as the new dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences (SOAHS), effective immediately.

Simmons is a tenured professor with more than 20 years of experience in higher education. She has served as interim SOAHS dean since the 2022 retirement of longtime Dean Cynthia Hughes-Harris, Ph.D. Throughout her career at FAMU, Simmons has secured more than $4.5 million in funding for programs, research, and student advancement.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Allyson L. Watson, Ph.D., acknowledges Simmons’ distinct focus on FAMU Health initiatives to support the University’s pursuit of R1 research status with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Higher Education.

“It gives me great joy to select Dr. Mary Simmons as the top candidate for dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences,” Watson said. “Her leadership, community commitment, level of service, and research will be a highlight of her visionary leadership for cultivating our Strategic Plan, ‘Boldly Striking.’”

Simmons is well known for her work in the local community. During the pandemic, she secured COVID-19 testing and vaccinations for more than 1,000 Leon County residents.  She is the 2022 recipient of the FAMU President’s Award for Exemplary Service and the 2021 Homecoming Humanitarian Award for Health Services. Additionally, she has chaired the Faculty Planning Conference for FAMU faculty members, advisors, and academic coaches for the last 10 years.

In her new role, Simmons will engage with health professionals, industry leaders, and campus partners to foster a transdisciplinary impact within the community.

“I am eager to embark on a journey of innovation, collaboration, and excellence as the newly appointed dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences,” Simmons said. “I look forward to empowering our faculty and staff as we advance student success in the areas of experiential learning, licensure pass rates, and employment security upon degree completion.

Simmons is a native of Troy, Alabama, and was raised in Tallahassee, Florida. She is a two-time alumna of FAMU with a bachelor’s degree in cardiopulmonary science and a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in environmental and occupational health. She received her doctorate in public health with a specialty in community health from Walden University.