Accepting the call: New Interim Dean Yvette Paulino aims to lead

Accepting the call: New Interim Dean Yvette Paulino aims to lead

Accepting the call: New Interim Dean Yvette Paulino aims to lead


Dr. Yvette Paulino
Dr. Yvette Paulino, new Interim Dean at the Margaret Perez Hattori-Uchima School of Health, is grateful for numerous UOG mentors who helped her succeed.

Dr. Yvette Cepeda Paulino first entered the University of Guam community as a high school intern who was keen on learning about agricultural research. 

She stayed with UOG for her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, and master’s degree, also in Biology.

A 2006-2009 recipient of the National Cancer Institute’s UOG/Cancer Research Center of Hawaii Graduate Scholarship Award, Dr. Paulino earned her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

After having been a UOG faculty member since 2009 and researcher for years, Dr. Paulino has taken on a new, bigger challenge: Leading the Margaret Perez Hattori-Uchima School of Health. She fills the role in an interim capacity following the passing of the School of Health’s beloved Dean Margaret, whose legacy lives in the program and through its building’s new name.

“I am engrossed in this new role, working to maintain stability of our Nursing, Health Sciences, and Social Work programs,” said Dr. Paulino. “I enjoyed my role as a professor and researcher and had not considered deanship in the past, but I accepted the call to serve in this interim capacity and I will, to the best of my ability lead our team of faculty, staff, and students in memory of our beloved Dean Margaret.” 

Many mentors on her journey

Throughout her journey, Dr. Paulino can look to many mentors who helped her along the way.

From the time Dr. Paulino received mentorship from Dr. Rangaswamy Muniappan in her high school internship at UOG, to being a National Institutes of Health RISE Scholar, mentored by Dr. Christopher Lobban and Dr. Maria Schefter, there were many others who guided her.

She is thankful for other Triton mentors including the late Dr. Lynn Raulerson, her undergraduate mentor; Dr. Rachael Leon Guerrero, her graduate mentor; Dr. Helen Whippy, her Guam/Hawaii Cancer Research Partnership mentor; Dean Lee Yudin and Victor Artero, mentors throughout her work at the Cooperative Extension and Outreach; Faculty mentor Dr. Kate Moots; and former School of Business and Public Administration Dean Annette Santos for her guidance under the UOG Academic Leaders Mentorship Program.

Dr. Paulino’s UOG connection spans the second generation in her family. In 2011, she first became a parent of a Triton student.

“This journey has helped me to understand the Triton experience through multiple lenses, and I am able to relate to the challenges as well as the successes experienced by our Triton family,” Dr. Paulino said. 

“What has helped me to succeed is surrounding myself with positive people – especially those who want to see me succeed – and engaging in collaborative, meaningful work.”

Paying it forward to the next generation

With all the help her mentors gave, Dr. Paulino strives to pay it forward to the next generation.

She has trained numerous students in conducting population health research, and provided research mentor training to faculty, administrators, researchers, and post-docs to help enhance students’ experience. 

Recently, she managed the Pacific Public Health Fellowship Program at the Pacific Island Health Officers’ Association and helped train the next generation of public health leaders from the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands. 

While preparing the next cadre of Pacific researchers, she also promotes community collaborations to further improve health and wellness in their communities. 

Some of Dr. Paulino’s research achievements:

  • Led research in the Pacific on the epidemiology and public health of betel nut chewing, including oral precancer screening of chewers, the effects of chewing on the oral microbiome and in liver cancer development, and a betel nut chewing cessation program. 
  • Received the American Association for Cancer Research Minority Serving Institution Faculty Scholar Award in 2012 for her work in cancer epidemiology.
  • Supported the World Health Organization as a content expert on a couple of working groups on areca nut, betel quid, and smokeless tobacco use in the Western Pacific. 
  • Expanded her research portfolio through a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities under the National Institutes of Health to build the Guma’ Tinemtom (House of Wisdom) which will house the Micronesian Data Laboratory at the University of Guam and serve as a training ground for sustainability.