Sheila M. Riggs, DDS, MS, DMSc

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Primary Dental Care

Sheila M. Riggs

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-626-5751

Fax 612-626-6096

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

Geriatric Fellow, Harvard Medical School, 1991-1992; Epidemiology Research Fellow, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, 1986-1991

MS, Harvard School of Public Health (Epidemiology), 1987

Bachelors Degree, Creighton University, 1982

DMSc, Harvard University (Oral Epidemiology), 1991; DDS, University of Iowa (Dentistry), 1986


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.

Awards & Recognition

  • Governor’s Volunteer Award for Dental Sealant Clinic Founder, 2003
  • The Richard Remington Award for Leadership, Vision and Achievement in Public Health, Iowa Public Health Association, 2001
  • Friend of Nursing Award, Iowa Nurses Association, 2000
  • Henry Albert Scientific Presentation Award, Iowa Medical Society, 1994
  • First Place, Best Graduate Student Public Health Research Project, American Association for Public Health Dentists, 1992
  • The James M. Dunning Award for excellence in health care research, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, 1991
  • Healthcare Industry Leader, Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal


Research Summary/Interests

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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fox, CH, Jette, AM, McGuire, SM (Riggs), Feldman, HA, Douglass, CW. Periodontal disease among New England elders. J Periodontol 65:676-684, 1994.
  • McGuire, SM (Riggs), A review of the impact of fluoride on adult caries. J Clin Dent 4(1):11-13, 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.
  • 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.