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28/06/2024 - 10:49

Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir new Dean of the School of Health Sciences

Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir new Dean of the School of Health Sciences - Available at University of Iceland

Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir, professor of epidemiology at the University of Iceland's Faculty of Medicine, has been appointed as the new Dean of the School of Health Sciences at the University of Iceland from 1 July. She will succeed Unnur Þorsteinsdóttir in this position.

Unnur Anna completed a BA in Psychology from the University of Iceland in 1996 and a PhD in Clinical Epidemiology in 2003 from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. She served as an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Iceland from 2007 to 2012 and has been a Professor at the same faculty since 2012. Since 2013, Unnur Anna has held the position of Visiting Professor at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and from 2015 to 2021, she was a Visiting Professor at Karolinska Institutet. Since 2022, she has held the position of Senior Researcher at the same institution.

Unnur Anna was the lead instructor for the interdisciplinary Master's and Doctoral programme in Public Health Sciences from its establishment in 2007 and until 2017. From 2013 to 2017, Unnur Anna was the Deputy Head of the Faculty of Medicine, and she served on the Science and Technology Council from 2019 to 2022. She has, furthermore, supervised nearly thirty doctoral students.

Unnur Anna is an exceptionally prolific scientist, having contributed to nearly 300 scientific papers published in international peer-reviewed journals. Her research primarily focuses on the effects of trauma on the development of chronic diseases. She has led extensive long-term studies in this field, including the "The Saga Cohort" study (Áfallasaga kvenna), which received funding from the European Research Council in 2016, "COVID-19 National Resilience Cohort," and the international research project "COVIDMENT." In connection with her research, Unnur Anna and her colleagues have secured substantial research grants both domestically and internationally, amounting to approximately one billion ISK.

Unnur Anna has received numerous accolades for her scientific work, including the Science and Technology Incentive Award in 2010 and a recognition from the Þórður Harðarson and Árni Kristinsson Award Fund in Medicine and Related Fields in 2017. She was chosen woman of the year by The Association of Women in Academia (Félag háskólakvenna). in the same year, and in 2023, Unnur Anna was awarded the the Icelandic Order of the Falcon for her contributions to epidemiological research.

“It is a distinct honour to lead the continued development of the University of Iceland's School of Health Sciences in the coming years, alongside all my excellent colleagues here. We have achieved exceptional results in health sciences and in the education of health professionals, and I see many opportunities to do even better through the joint development of research infrastructure, dissemination of science to the community, and advancements in teaching and training through active domestic and international cooperation. I am full of anticipation to take on this important task," says Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir.

Jón Atli Benediktsson, Rector of the University of Iceland, warmly welcomes Unnur Anna to her role as Dean of the School of Health Sciences, a position she will hold on behalf of the Rector. "Unnur Anna has an extremely ambitious vision for the School of Health Sciences, extensive experience in scientific work, supervising research students, and broad managerial experience. She possesses all the qualities needed to be a strong advocate for health sciences at the University of Iceland. It is a significant gain to have Unnur Anna join the ranks of key leaders at the University of Iceland at this pivotal time for the School of Health Sciences, with the construction of a new health sciences building on the National University Hospital site and a period of growth and innovation in teaching and research in the field. I look forward to working with Unnur Anna and wish her success in leading this important academic field," says Jón Atli.

The School of Health Sciences is one of five schools at the University of Iceland. It comprises six faculties, the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition, the Faculty of Psychology and the Faculty of Odontology.