Leadership announcement: Associate Dean for Diversity and Equity Transformation

The below message from Dean Golden was shared with all SMPH employees on Monday, Aug. 30. 

Dear colleagues,

I am excited to share news about our school’s next step for diversity and equity transformation. Beginning October 11, 2021, Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, MA, CDM, UW Health Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will expand the scope of her work to also become the inaugural Associate Dean for Diversity and Equity Transformation for our school. In doing so, Shiva will be leading an integrative effort to embed equity, diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism as imperatives in all of our missions.

This appointment also establishes a multifunctional SMPH Office of Diversity and Equity Transformation that will be integrated with the existing UW Health Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. This will facilitate alignment and progress in areas such as learning and education, faculty and staff support, equity in systems, policies and processes, support for basic science departments and their training programs, and programmatic accountability. Additional resources, including funding and personnel, will be dedicated to this critical effort. Ultimately, this work will involve and engage everyone in SMPH as we seek to become an anti-racist organization.

While this office will serve staff, faculty and learners, early priorities will include SMPH staff and our basic science departments and training programs. Shiva will work closely with Jason Stephenson, MD and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which will continue to oversee DEI programming for health professions learners.

Shiva is an established leader and effective champion for advancing equity and diversity at the individual, organizational and community levels. She brings to her work with diverse communities a gift for language – she is fluent in Farsi, Spanish, French, and English – and a remarkable ability to spark transformational change. Her community engagement is centered on addressing racism and discrimination as barriers to health and health equity. Born in Iran, Shiva 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. Shiva 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. She served as a former alder on the City of Madison Common Council and is a 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. Shiva’s accolades include being named as a 2019-20 UW–Madison Outstanding Woman of Color.

I would like to thank Manuel Santiago, Danielle Yancey, and Tracy Downs for their service as Interim Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officers over the past year.

Please join me in congratulating Shiva and welcoming her to this expanded role.



Robert N. Golden, MD
Robert Turell Professor in Medical Leadership
Dean, School of Medicine and Public Health
Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs
University of Wisconsin–Madison