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New chair of BSHE

Michael Windle will join our faculty in August as Rollins Professor and Chair of the department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education (BSHE). Currently professor of psychology and director of the Center for Advancement of Youth Health (CAYH) and the Comprehensive Youth Violence Center at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, he holds joint appointments in the department of Pediatrics and the Center for Health Promotion. He also serves as director of the graduate program in Developmental Psychology and has been a member of the National Advisory Committee on Underage Drinking of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism since 2004. With a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State, he is the author/editor of more than 150 publications and three books. We welcome Dr. Windle and his wife, Rebecca, a research assistant in the CAYH at UAB, to the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH).

Dedicated to global health

On March 30, the RSPH dedicated the Hubert Department of Global Health, the first such named department at any school in the country. On behalf of the Hubert Foundation, Richard Hubert expressed his thanks to the RSPH for enabling his family's foundation to meet its mission. "You are as important to us as we are to you," he told a standing-room-only crowd that included President James Wagner, Provost Earl Lewis, Woodruff Health Sciences CEO Mike Johns, and Emory Board of Trustees Chairman Ben Johnson. "You have the expertise to accomplish the high purpose of our mission and the sensitivity to deal with a global world." The day's celebrations included the inaugural lecture of William H. Foege Chair in Global Health Keith Klugman, who presented indisputable data that immunizing children benefits people of all ages in a population.

Inaugural Brogan lecture

Scott Zeger, Hurley-Dorrier Professor and Chair of Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins, delivered the first annual Donna Brogan Lecture on April 18, sharing his experiences as an expert witness for the U.S. Department of Justice and in successful civil suits against tobacco companies. He presented startling statistics from the youth-addicted smoking epidemic from 1954 to 2000: $1 trillion in monetary costs, 13 million deaths, 130 million years of life lost, and 120 million years of disease. Among Zeger's audience was Donna Brogan herself, an outstanding member of the Biostatistics faculty, who retired in 2004. During her 33 years at Emory, she made major contributions, becoming only the fourth woman to be promoted to full professor in the School of Medicine, serving as the first female chair of Biostatistics, and, for several years, being the only female full professor in the RSPH.

Sharing sad news

I am saddened to announce recent deaths. Rick Letz, professor and former chair of BSHE, died on April 11. As president of the Emory University Senate, Letz held leadership roles on the appointments, promotion, and tenure committee and the faculty senate and curriculum committee. Committed to high academic standards and an advocate for the BSHE department, Letz will be missed. Jeanne Calle, his widow and adjunct professor of epidemiology, has asked that those who would like to honor her husband contribute to the newly established Richard E. Letz Endowment Fund for Dissertation Research at the RSPH, which will support annually the dissertation research needs of doctoral students in BSHE.

A good friend to our school, Anne Jones, died April 4. Jones met her husband of 50 years, Boisfeuillet Jones, on the job at Emory when he was serving as vice president for health services. As he went on to become the first president of the Robert W. Woodruff Foundations, Anne Jones grew to be a civic leader in her own right, serving as an advocate for public health. Her support culminated in the endowment of the Boisfeuillet Jones Scholarship at the RSPH. She is survived by a daughter, Laura Hardman, who serves on the Emory Board of Trustees and is the wife of John Hardman, executive director of The Carter Center, and a son, Boisfeuillet Jones Jr., publisher of the Washington Post.

If you'd like more information on how to contribute to either the Letz Endowment Fund or the Jones Scholarship Fund, please contact Kathryn Graves, 404-727-3352.

Longtime employee Carol Cummings died at her home in El Salvador in mid-April. Among her many contributions to the RSPH were helping produce the second MPH program accreditation self-study, supporting the AIDS Education and Training Center, implementing the health education curriculum, recruiting and advising students, and managing the fiscal affairs of grants.

New national health care initiatives

Researchers at the Emory Center on Health Outcomes and Quality (CHOQ) are working to improve national health outcomes. CHOQ Director Kim Rask and William Bornstein, chief quality officer for Emory Healthcare, are leading Emory's participation in a study to reduce inpatient injuries through a targeted injury detection system. Kara Jacobson and Julie Gazmararian, in collaboration with Grady's pharmacy services, have conducted a literacy study to identify ways to increase patient adherence to medication regimens. A third study seeks to increase Chlamydia trachomatis screenings in young, sexually active women. Adam Atherly (HPM) and Sarah Blake (HPM) will oversee Emory's role in the collaboration, which targets participants enrolled in commercial health plans.

Most-read journal author

Ken Thorpe (HPM) wrote two of the top 25 most-read articles in the online edition of Health Affairs in 2005. The journal, with a Web readership of more than 9 million pageviews, published "The Rising Prevalence of Treated Disease: Effects on Private Health Insurance Spending" in June. The paper presented a new framework for understanding factors driving the growth in private health insurance spending. "The Rise in Health Care Spending and What to Do About It" appeared in the November/December edition and discussed how reforms for slowing the growth in health care spending have focused largely on insurance-based solutions. To counteract rising disease prevalence and new medical treatments, which accounted for almost 2/3 of the spending rise, Thorpe's paper recommended a focus on health promotion, public health interventions, and cost-effective use of medical care.

Enhancing public health systems research

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded a $223,000 grant to support development of public health systems research, which examines the organization, financing, and delivery of public health services within communities, as well as the impact of the services within communities and on public health. The 19-month project, led by Iris Smith (BSHE), will increase dissemination of information on key public health systems research issues, such as financing. The multi-institution collaboration will organize events on relevant research topics, publish a special finance and economics issue of the Journal of Public Health Finance and Practice, implement a speakers' bureau, and develop a website (

Strengthening an international public health network

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a grant of more than $900,000 to Emory and the Finnish National Public Health Institute (KTL) in Helsinki to enhance the International Association of National Public Health Institutes (IANPHI). Founded in 2002, this growing network of public health agencies encourages participants to learn from each other's experiences. More-established agencies, such as KTL, provide smaller and younger national health agencies scientific and technical support to build national public health systems. Jeffrey Koplan, vice president for academic health affairs and joint professor of epidemiology and health policy and management at the RSPH and of internal medicine at the School of Medicine, is principal investigator of the IANPHI grant.

Award-winning textbook

Environmental Health: From global to local received the 2005 award for excellence in professional and scholarship publishing in the category of allied health sciences. Edited by Howard Frumkin, former chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and currently director of the Center for Environmental Health at CDC as well as an adjunct professor at the RSPH, the book includes contributions from many RSPH faculty, including Gary Miller, Kyle Steenland, Christine Moe, Barry Ryan, Richard Rheingans, Lance Waller, Scott Bartell, and Barry Johnson.

Student awardees

On March 8, these students were elected to Omicron Delta Kappa based on their demonstrated commitment to service and academic achievement: Michelle Carvalho, Uchenna Egenti, Margaret Gatti, Yoran Grant, Elizabeth Levy, Emily Mendenhall, and Khadija Turay. In February, these students were inducted into Who's Who: Darren Mays, Jie Liu, Darren Collins, Christina Holbrook, and Suzanne Judd. We are proud of the recognition our students have received.

Faculty accolades, awards, and activities

  • Camila Corvalan (HGH) delivered the 10th Dr. Abraham Horwitz Lecture on March 13 to the United Nation's Standing Committee on Nutrition at its annual meeting in Geneva.
  • Colleen DiIorio (BSHE) has been appointed vice-chair of the Social, Humanist, and Behavioral IRB Committee for Emory University.
  • William Foege (HGH) is the recipient of the 2006 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal, awarded annually by the Sabin Vaccine Institute to recognize extraordinary accomplishments of those who make vaccine discoveries or employ vaccines to combat vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Michelle Kegler (BSHE) received the 2005 Early Career Award from the American Public Health Association in December, recognizing her research in community-based health promotion, tobacco control, and cancer prevention.
  • David Kleinbaum (EPI) was awarded the inaugural Association of Schools of Public Health/Pfizer Award for Teaching Excellence. He was chosen to win the recognition and $10,000 cash prize from among 19 nominees who are notable graduate public health faculty known for teaching excellence.
  • Richard Saltman (HPM) will co-chair the Third International Jerusalem Conference in December 2006, which will focus on the post-reform era of health systems, including topics such as control of chronic disease, a scarcity of innovative ideas for reform, and a potential decline of doctoring in the 21st century.
  • I was appointed to the governing board of the Public Health Foundation of India.

In closing, let me extend a personal invitation to you to attend graduation exercises at the RSPH on May 12. We are honored to have Peter Bell, the outgoing president of CARE and visiting professor of Global Health, as our commencement speaker. We will graduate our 4,000th alum during this special ceremony.

James W. Curran, MD, MPH

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