A Community-Based Medical School for the 21st Century


Dean Deborah Deas

Meet Dean Deborah Deas, M.D., M.P.H.

Deborah Deas, M.D., M.P.H. is the Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, the Mark and Pam Rubin Dean of the School of Medicine, and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, Riverside (UCR).

Since joining UCR in 2016, Deas has overseen extensive growth within the School of Medicine. Under her leadership, the school has expanded its clinical affiliations, increased its National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, and increased the diversity of students, staff and faculty. In addition, she oversaw the opening of UCR Health and its expansion to include multispecialty clinical services.
Deas has been a fierce advocate for increased state funding for the medical school and has worked with state and University of California leadership on the development of a new medical education building on the UCR campus.

Her appointment as dean at UCR made her the first female African-American dean of a medical school in the UC system as well as the first African-American and female African-American dean of a school or college of any kind at UC Riverside.

Deas has been honored with several national awards in the areas of diversity and inclusion, including the 2017 Giving Back Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, which honors college and university administrators who go above and beyond their everyday leadership duties and give back to their campuses and communities. In 2019, the UCR School of Medicine was awarded one of 13 National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Center grants in recognition of the school’s achievements under her leadership.

In addition to her leadership duties at UCR, Deas serves on the Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

Deas came to UCR from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), where she served as the interim dean of the College of Medicine and professor of psychiatry. During her tenure at MUSC, she served as senior associate dean for medical education, chief academic officer, and associate dean for admissions. She led the College of Medicine’s committee on accreditation by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education and was the Founding Director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at the MUSC.

Originally from Adams Run, South Carolina, Deas earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the College of Charleston in 1978 and her Master of Public Health degree from the University of South Carolina in 1979.

She earned her M.D. from MUSC in 1989, then completed her residency in adult psychiatry, followed by fellowship training in child and adolescent psychiatry as well as addiction psychiatry. She is board-certified in each of the three specialties. She also completed a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) substance abuse research fellowship.

Her research interests include pharmacotherapy and psychosocial treatments of adolescents and adults with substance use disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD) and anxiety disorders. She has received NIH funding (R01) as well as industry funding for her research, has published articles in several peer-reviewed journals, and won multiple awards and honors for her work.

Deas is a fellow with the American College of Psychiatrists and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. She is a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Council of Deans and as well as the Group on Diversity and Inclusion, the Group on Education Affairs, and the Group for Student Affairs. Other affiliations include the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Ad Hoc Committee on Editorship and Publications, the American Psychiatric Association Council on Addiction, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, the National Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the Research Society on Alcoholism, and the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism.

Message from Deborah Deas, M.D., M.P.H.

Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences
& Mark and Pam Rubin Dean

When people ask me what it is that appealed to me most about joining the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine, my answer is simple.

“Everything,” I reply.

As a physician, I am keenly aware of the need to provide medical services to underserved communities such as those in our Inland Southern California region. As a teacher and researcher, I am excited by the opportunity to educate the next generation of physicians and scientists who want to provide service to their neighbors in the communities that they call home.

I grew up on a rural farm in Adams Run, South Carolina, and have seen first-hand the challenges faced by underserved populations, including education, employment and health care.  I have dedicated my life, both personally and professionally, to increasing opportunities and advocating for progress. I believe these values align perfectly with the mission of the School of Medicine.

While we have challenges ahead, we also have great opportunities. We will continue to lead the charge in the evolution of health care by applying new and diverse strategies that create skilled, culturally competent physicians and biomedical researchers who place an emphasis on prevention, wellness, and cost-effective treatments.

I am excited to lead this devoted and talented group of students, staff and faculty and meeting and working with our friends and neighbors as we continue to build the public, community-based medical school that Inland Southern California both needs and deserves. Together, we will make a real difference in the health of the people in our communities.


Deborah Deas, M.D., M.P.H.
Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences & Mark and Pam Rubin Dean
UCR School of Medicine