The academic year is off to
a great start, with a 40% increase in research funding and more new
students than ever before. Sponsored research at RSPH totalled $35.4
million for 2001-2002, far exceeding the goal set in our strategic plan
just five years ago. Also, our 309 new MPH students are now well oriented
and in the thick of the academic year. As they do each fall, their enthusiastic
faces and inquisitive minds bring new vigor to the school and remind
us of our duty to prepare them well for their future careers in public
health. Our student body now stands at 834, including 100 Career MPH
and 79 PhD students.
just nine months ago, the Center for Public Health Preparedness and
Research at the Rollins School of Public Health is growing rapidly.
Some noteworthy accomplishments include:
- Establishment of a CDC-sponsored public health preparedness program
to focus on training public health professionals throughout Georgia
about bioterrorism preparedness. Associate Dean for Applied Public
Health Kathleen Miner is principal investigator.
- A new course called Public Health Preparedness and Bioterrorism.
Ruth Berkelman, the Rollins Professor of Public Health
Preparedness and director of the center, and Philip Brachman,
anthrax expert and Professor of International Health, are co-directing
- The Triangle Club lecture series, a monthly event that brings together
Atlanta professionals in public health, health care, and academia
who are working on issues related to bioterrorism preparedness. Sam
Nunn, former US senator and co-chair of the Nunn-Turner Nuclear Threat
Initiative, gave the first lecture in September. In October, the series
featured Richard Preston, the best-selling author of The Hot Zone
and The Demon in the Freezer, an inside look at smallpox.
- A new course called Crisis Communications and Public Health, developed
and taught by Melissa Shepherd, a visiting communications
associate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- The center's key role in a new group called the Southeastern Center
for Emerging Biologic Threats (SECEBT), which aims to combat emerging
infectious disease threats through interdisciplinary collaboration.
Partners include universities and local, state, and federal health
agencies across the Southeastern United States.
- Ongoing research involving the development and evaluation of early
detection systems for epidemics and changes in health care utilization
after a terrorist event.
- A Student Outbreak Response Team, formed in collaboration with
the DeKalb County Board of Health. This voluntary group allows students
to gain experience working in a local public health department. The
students are also on call to help the county during emergency situations.
I am extremely pleased
to announce that Benjamin Druss, MD, MPH, has been
named the first Rosalynn Carter Chair of Mental Health. In this position,
he will collaborate closely with The Carter Center and the Emory School
of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Druss comes to Emory from
the Yale University School of Medicine departments of Psychiatry and
Public Health, where he has been an associate professor and director
of mental health policy studies. At Emory, he will serve as an associate
professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management. He is well
known for his clinical and research expertise on the treatment of mental
illness in primary care settings. He earned a BA from Swarthmore College,
an MD from New York University, and an MPH from Yale. Dr. Druss also
serves on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Identifying Priority
Areas for Quality Improvement. Established to honor Rosalynn Carter's
long-time mental health advocacy, this chair is the first endowed chair
in mental health at a school of public health. We look forward to the
many exciting new opportunities this chair and relationship with The
Carter Center will provide us in the area of mental health.
Congratulations to Gary
Gunderson, director of the Interfaith Health Program (IHP)
at RSPH, on receiving a $1.5 million grant from the US Department of
Health and Human Services to promote community health in seven states.
IHP was one of 21 groups chosen to disperse $24.8 million in federal
funding to faith-based organizations nationwide. The IHP initiative,
called Strong Partners, is a partnership with nine foundations that
support faith-based organizations. IHP will manage HHS funding granted
to the foundations and provide technical assistance as well.
The RSPH will soon
offer a Public Health Communications Certificate Program. Jay
Bernhart, assistant professor of Behavioral Sciences and Health
Education, and Kathleen Miner, Associate Dean for Applied
Public Health, recently received funding from the Office of Communication
at CDC through the Association of Schools of Public Health to develop
the program. Curriculum development, literature reviews and abstracting,
and the creation of a health communications advisory board of distinguished
experts in the field is now underway. Melissa Shepherd
is a senior consultant.
Inc. recently made a $8,500 gift to the Department of Biostatistics
to support the new MSPH program in Public Health Informatics. This funding
will support student scholarships and help purchase books and other
resources for a Public Health Informatics library in the Department
of Biostatistics. TRW Systems, Inc., is part of the larger TRW, Inc.,
a global technology, manufacturing, and service company that provides
advanced technology systems to customers worldwide. TRW Systems Inc
provides information systems and technology support to a number of public
health organizations, including the CDC. We are very grateful for their
support and look forward to a long partnership with them.
Two notable RSPH alumni were
honored during Alumni Weekend this past September. Oscar Tarrago,
MD, 89MPH, received the Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award,
and Aun Lor, 97MPH, received the first annual Matthew Girvin Service
Award. Dr. Tarrago has worked on a variety of public health issues,
including polio eradication and health risk communications, in rural
Mexico, Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo. He is now a visiting scientist
and senior staff fellow at the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
Registry at CDC. Lor, a native of Cambodian who lost many family members
to the Khmer Rouge, is now a health scientist/human subjects specialist
at CDC. He has worked tirelessly for human rights concerns for a variety
of organizations. The award was established to honor Matthew Girvin,
94MPH, who died in January, 2001 while on a United Nations surveying
mission in China.
Career MPH student Brian
Wheeler was part of an Alabama Department of Health team that
won the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials 2002 Vision
Award for its work on a perinatal Hepatitis B case management initiative.
Congratulations to the following
faculty members, who continue to distinguish themselves on campus, nationally,
and around the globe.
- Donna Brogan (Biostatistics) received the Iowa
State University Distinguished Achievement Citation this past October
during ISU alumni weekend and presented a seminar for the ISU statistics
department titled Sampling Rare Populations: Lesbians and Gays
as a Case Example.
- Howard Frumkin (Environmental and Occupational
Health) was inducted as a Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini, an occupational
medicine society based in Carpi, Italy that includes 180 international
leaders in the field.
- John Hanfelt (Biostatistics) was appointed Associate
Editor of Biometrics.
- Vicki Hertzberg (Biostatistics) was elected to
membership in the International Statistical Institute.
- Debra Houry (Environmental and Occupational Health),
associate director of the Center for Injury Control and assistant
professor in the Emory School of Medicine Department of Emergency
Medicine, received the 2002 Jay Drotman Award from the American Public
Health Association. This highly competitive award recognizes an outstanding
public health researcher under 30 years of age who has challenged
traditional public health policy or practice in a creative and positive
- Michael Kutner (Biostatistics) received the Paul
Minton Service Award from the Southern Regional Council on Statistics.
- Amita Manatunga (Biostatistics) was appointed
Associate Editor of Statistics in Medicine.
- Reynaldo Martorell (International Health), the
Robert W. Woodruff Professor of International Nutrition and department
chair, was recently elected to the Institute of Medicine. He brings
Emory's membership in the IOM to 11.
- Claire Sterk (Behavioral Sciences and Health Education),
chair of the department, was recently named the Charles Howard Candler
Professor at Emory University. This honor recognizes her teaching
and research expertise as well as her important contributions throughout
the university. She has served as President of the University Senate
and co-chaired the University Commission on Research.
- I am the chair-elect of the Association of Schools of Public Health
Deans Committee and chair-elect of the NIH Centers for AIDS Research
James W. Curran, MD, MPH