Sheila Riggs

Sheila Riggs

Academic Title

Associate Professor
Division of Dental Public Health
Chair of Department of Primary Dental Care


Epidemiology Research Fellow, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, 1986-1991 - Geriatric Fellow, Harvard Medical School, 1991-1992
Creighton University, 1982
Epidemiology, MS, Harvard School of Public Health, 1987
Other Education
Dentistry, Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS), University of Iowa, 1986 - Oral Epidemiology, Doctor of Medical Sciences (DMSc), Harvard University, 1991

Contact Info




Office Address

9-436 Moos Tower
515 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Bio Statement

Sheila Riggs is Chair of the Department of Primary Dental Care at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and leads health policy initiatives for the Academic Health Center. Prior to her roles at the UMN, she was President and CEO of Delta Dental of MN.

Prior to her arrival in Minnesota, Dr. Riggs played a very unique role in Iowa and South Dakota healthcare for 10 years. Using her doctorate in epidemiology, Sheila led the analytic division Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa and South Dakota while also serving as the Executive Director of the Wellmark Foundation. This, coupled with the long term relationships she had with policy makers, afforded her leadership opportunities to help Iowans and South Dakotans achieve innovations in care models that resulted in general health and oral health improvement in community-based models.

Dr. Riggs received her dental degree (DDS) from the University of Iowa College of Dentistry. She went on to earn her doctorate of medical sciences (DMSc) in epidemiology from Harvard University. She maintains faculty appointments at her alma maters. Locally, Sheila is on the Board of Directors of the Greater Twin Cities United Way where she chairs the Health Impact Committee which distributes $16 million annually. Sheila is President of the Women’s Health Leadership Trust and also serves on the Board of Directors of the YWCA and the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable. Sheila is frequently asked to speak to audiences of young women on the opportunities in the fields of science and math.

Research Interests

Outcomes-based Research, Small Area Analysis, Claims Data Analysis


The James M. Dunning Award for excellence in health care research, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, 1991

First Place, Best Graduate Student Public Health Research Project, American Association for Public Health Dentists, 1992

Henry Albert Scientific Presentation Award, Iowa Medical Society, 1994

Friend of Nursing Award, Iowa Nurses Association, 2000

The Richard Remington Award for Leadership, Vision and Achievement in Public Health, Iowa Public Health Association, 2001

Governor’s Volunteer Award for Dental Sealant Clinic Founder, 2003

Healthcare Industry Leader, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal


Douglass, CW, Jette, AM, Tennstedt, SL, Fox, CH, McGuire, SM (Riggs), Feldman, H, and McKinlay, JB. Oral health status of the elderly in New England. Journal of Gerontology 38(2):M39-M46, 1993.

McGuire, SM (Riggs), Fox, CH, Tennstedt, SL, Feldman H. Douglass, CW. Beneath the surface of coronal caries: Primary decay, recurrent decay and failed restorations in a population-based survey of New England elders. J Pub Health Dent, 53(2):76-82, 1993.

McGuire, SM (Riggs), A review of the impact of fluoride on adult caries. J Clin Dent 4(1):11-13, 1993.

Fox, CH, Jette, AM, McGuire, SM (Riggs), Feldman, HA, Douglass, CW. Periodontal disease among New England elders. J Periodontol 65:676-684, 1994.

Tennstedt, S, Brambilla, D, Jette, A, McGuire, SM (Riggs). Understanding dental service use by older adults: Sociobehavioral factors vs. objective need. J Publ Health Dent (54):211-219, 1994.

McGuire, S (Riggs), McGuire, A, McGuire, M. The genetic risk factors for bone and soft tissue tumors. Surgical Oncology Clinics of North America 3(3):599-607, 1994.

Doebbeling, BN, Wyant, DK, McCoy, KD, Riggs, SM, et al. Linked Insurance-Tumor Registry Database for Health Services Research. Medical Care 37(11):1105-1115, 1999.

Jiang, P, DeVries, A, Springman, S, Bargman, E, Garrett, N, Riggs, S. Comparison of Dental Service Utilization for Women Before, During and Immediately After Pregnancy. J Am Dent Assoc, 139 (9):1173-1180, 2008.

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  • Last modified on November 26, 2012