UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health: Shiva Bidar-Sielaff named associate dean for diversity and equity transformation

MADISON, Wis. – Beginning Oct. 11, 2021, Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, UW Health, will expand the scope of her work to also become the inaugural associate dean for diversity and equity transformation for the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. 

            Her appointment establishes a multifunctional Office of Diversity and Equity Transformation for the school that will be integrated with the existing UW Health Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The unit will serve staff, faculty and learners throughout the school and will work closely with Dr. Jason Stephenson, associate dean for multicultural affairs for health professions learners, and the school’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, which will continue to oversee diversity, equity and inclusion programming for health professions learners.

            “I am thrilled to be working in partnership with colleagues at the school in this expanded capacity as we advance our vision of healthy people and healthy communities,” Bidar-Sielaff said. “As we educate the next generation of health sciences professionals and scientists, perform innovative research that has potential to transform lives and serve patients and populations, we are uniquely positioned to address health equity and the impact of racism on health.”

            Bidar-Sielaff brings to her work with diverse communities a gift for language – she is fluent in Farsi, Spanish, French and English – and a track record of sparking transformational change. Her community engagement centers on addressing racism and discrimination as barriers to health and health equity. 

            Born in Iran, she relocated to Spain when she was nine years old. Her experiences as an immigrant were formative, fostering her commitment to speak up tirelessly for equity. Bidar-Sielaff completed her undergraduate degree at Ecole d´Interprètes Internationaux in Mons, Belgium, followed by a Master of Arts in International Policy Studies at Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.

            In 1997, she joined UW Health to establish the medical interpretation services program, which is now recognized as a national model. She became director of community partnerships for UW Health, and then UW Health chief diversity officer. In 2020, her role was elevated to a vice president position. 

            Bidar-Sielaff served as a former alder on the City of Madison Common Council and is a current member of the Governor’s Health Equity Council, co-chair of the Latino Health Council of Dane County, and executive committee member of the Dane County Latino Support Network. Her many accolades include being named as a 2019-20 UW–Madison Outstanding Woman of Color.

            “Shiva will direct our coordinated efforts to infuse the vital imperatives of equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism into all of our missions,” said Dr. Robert N. Golden, dean of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “Under her leadership, we will apply our deep commitment to advancing equity and diversity at the individual, organizational and community levels.”