Bragg named associate dean for student affairs

Dawn Bragg, PhD, has been appointed associate dean for student affairs at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She begins her new position Aug. 15.

Bragg comes to Cincinnati from the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, where since 2018 she has served as dean of medical student affairs leading all student affairs services for medical students across the university’s four campuses. She has spent the last 26 years serving medical students in various positions at both the Sanford School of Medicine and the Medical College of Wisconsin, where she served as associate dean for student inclusion and academic enrichment and as associate dean for student affairs/diversity, among other positions.

“Dr. Bragg has a wealth of experience in leading medical student affairs. She is both a strong advocate for students as well as a supportive nurturing counselor who is able to deal with complex and difficult student issues,” says Philip Diller, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for educational affairs. “People who have worked with her at other institutions told us she is a wise, thoughtful and principled individual who always seeks to understand situations and make the right decisions.”

portrait of Dr. Dawn Bragg

Dawn Bragg, PhD, is the new associate dean for student affairs at the UC College of Medicine. (Photo provided)

Bragg says she made her first trip to Cincinnati a year ago to visit the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens before the associate dean’s position would open this year due to the retirement of Aurora Bennett, MD. Bennett has served as associate dean of student affairs since August 2011 and has been on the college’s faculty for the last 30 years.

“I was immediately attracted to Cincinnati’s strong cultural presence and the many opportunities to experience the arts, major league sports and great cuisine,” she says. “The UC College of Medicine shares my values and principles, and it was an easy decision to become a part of a team who is focused on the success and well-being of its students.”

As associate dean, she wants to continue a strong Office of Student Affairs to continue ensuring “that the services and medical school environment are responsive to student needs and supports their success. The student affairs team must actively partner with students, faculty and professionals to support the success of our students.”

She says critical areas for student success are academic support and well-being, two things she has focused her efforts on at her previous medical schools, and will continue to advocate for at the College of Medicine.

For much of her time at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Bragg was responsible for supporting student diversity. She believes an Office of Student Affairs must ensure that the college environment is inclusive of diverse and unique identities, perspectives and experiences. Additionally, she says it must promote and foster a culture of respect and kindness, not only among the student body, but also among faculty and administrative leadership.

“I am honored to be able to join a talented student affairs team and help to build on the foundation laid by Dr. Bennett,” Bragg says. “I am particularly interested in helping our students with medical professional identity formation, continuing strong academic support and maintaining a well-being program across all years of medical school.”

Bragg, who will hold an appointment as professor in the Department of Medical Education, is a fellow of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program. She received several Innovative Teaching Awards and a Distinguished Service Award while at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

During her academic career, Bragg has been an active investigator, most recently serving as co-principal investigator on grants researching diversity training programs and student enrichment programs. Previous research has focused on medical education, medical student motivation, resilience as moderated by gender and the relationship between medical student empathy and perceived stress.

A native of Jamaica, Bragg completed her undergraduate education at Florida A&M University and received a master’s degree in dairy science and a doctoral degree in educational evaluation from the University of Illinois.

Bragg, who counts cooking ethnic food as her prime hobby, says she is looking forward to working with the college’s student affairs team and, outside of work, returning to the Cincinnati Zoo, attending a Bengals game and reggae concerts at Fountain Square. She is in the process of moving to Cincinnati with her husband, Emmett, with whom she has one daughter, Taylor, an “awesome rugby player who is now applying to medical school.” Also joining them is their 8-year-old Bichon-Shih Tzu named Theodore St. Arthur, or Teddy for short. 

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