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Commencement 2002

I feel a renewed sense of awe and wonder with every new class of graduates, each one unique yet sharing a readiness to take on a world full of daunting public health problems. A total of 299 students received degrees on May 13, including 264 MPH degrees, 19 MSPH degrees, three Master's of Science degrees, 11 dual degrees, and four PhDs. Dr. Audrey Manley, the President of Spelman College and a former acting Surgeon General of the United States and Deputy Surgeon General, gave a rousing commencement address, calling graduates to embrace a life of service. Graduate speaker Kari Greene urged her classmates to combat fatalism and maintain their passion for service when they feel overwhelmed by the public health problems of the day. As always, the ceremony was replete with well-deserved honors and awards. Carlos Franco Paredes (International Health and chief resident at Grady Memorial Hospital) received the James W. Alley Award, for extraordinary efforts to serve those in need. Stanley Foster (International Health) received the Thomas F. Sellers, MD Award for support of faculty colleagues in public health. Thomas Mampilly (Environmental and Occupational Health) received the Eugene J. Gangarosa, MD Student Award, which honors creative approaches to solving public health problems. Azhar Nizam (Biostatistics) received the Crystal Apple Award for Excellence in Professional School Teaching for the university at large. Roger Rochat (Epidemiology and International Health), Kimberly Sessions (Behavioral Sciences and Health Education), and Jim Setzer (International Health) received Professor of the Year Awards, given by students to honor outstanding faculty members who demonstrate leadership, a genuine concern for students, and a sense of academic excellence.

Gates Foundation makes first endowment gift ever

I am extremely excited and pleased to announce that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has established the William H. Foege Fellowships in Global Health at RSPH to honor the career and achievements of Dr. Foege, Presidential Distinguished Professor of International Health at RSPH and a senior adviser to the foundation. Beginning in the fall of 2003, the fellowship program will bring four Foege Fellows from developing countries each year to study at RSPH and will be supported by a $5 million endowment gift from the Gates Foundation. The fellows will be mid-career professionals who will develop lasting partnerships with mentors at the many public health agencies in Atlanta, including Emory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The Carter Center, and Care USA. In addition, the O.C. Hubert Charitable Trust has granted RSPH $1.4 million to establish the William H. Foege Chair in Global Health. An Emory commitment brings the total endowment for that chair to $2 million. The recipient of the chair will direct the fellowship program as well as the O.C. Hubert Fellowships in International Health, which help support international field research experiences for students.


Jeffrey Koplan, MD, MPH, adjunct professor of Epidemiology and Health Policy and Management and former Director of the CDC, is now Vice President for Academic Health Affairs for Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC). In this role, Koplan will plan, direct, and advance research and academic strategies for the WHSC, which includes RSPH, the schools of medicine and nursing, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and Emory Healthcare.

New faculty

Please welcome the following new members to our faculty:
  • Jack S. Mandel, PhD, MPH, has been named the Rollins Professor of Epidemiology and the new chair of the Department of Epidemiology. During his career, he has published more than 100 articles on epidemiologic studies, many involving environmental exposures and cancer. While a faculty member at the University of Minnesota from 1975 to 1999, he headed the Division of Environmental and Occupational Health for four years, held an endowed chair, and was an award-winning teacher. Most recently, he served as Group Vice President of Health/Epidemiology and Environmental Science for a national consulting firm. He holds a BSc in mathematics from the University of Manitoba and an MPH and PhD from the University of Minnesota.
  • James W. Buehler, MD, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology, joins the Rollins Center for Public Health Preparedness and Research in an innovative position that will foster links between RSPH and the Georgia Division of Public Health (GDPH). He was previously Associate Director for Science at the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention at CDC. Buehler will help the state division with matters of public health surveillance, training, and prevention, and the Epidemiology Branch of the GDPH will help fund his position.
  • Bradley J. Herring, PhD, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management, recently completed postdoctoral studies at Yale University as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow. His work focuses on health economics, insurance theory, public finance, and social insurance. He earned his PhD from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Gary W. Miller, PhD, Associate Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health, comes to the RSPH from the University of Texas. He also holds appointments in the departments of Neurology and Pharmacology in the Emory School of Medicine. His research examines the environmental and genetic causes of Parkinson's disease. He received his PhD in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Georgia and completed postdoctoral fellowships at Emory and Duke in molecular neuroscience.
  • Nelson "Kyle" Steenland, PhD, Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health and Epidemiology, was previously an epidemiologist for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. His research examines exposures such as silica, dioxin, pesticides, tobacco smoke, and shift work, and he is the school's first Georgia Cancer Coalition Scholar. He holds doctorates in history and epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati.


Please welcome Margaret Jenkins, Assistant Director of Development, and Beverly Fowler, Program Development Coordinator, who join the staff of Kathryn Graves, Assistant Dean for Development and External Relations. Jenkins is a graduate of Sweetbriar College and received her MEd from the University of Virginia this past May. She will focus on annual giving and alumni relations.

High achievers

RSPH students gathered many well-deserved honors this past academic year:
  • At the annual Charles C. Shepard Symposium, the Shepard Award for scientific excellence was presented to Dr. Josef Amann (International Health) for his thesis on "Trachoma in the Upper Nile Region of Southern Sudan." Many thanks to Victoria Phillips, who organized the symposium, and to long-time organizer John Boring for serving as master of ceremonies.
  • Eight of 37 Association of Schools of Public Health/CDC internships offered this year went to RSPH students.
  • Twenty-eight recent graduates and students were inducted into the honorary society, Delta Omega.

Building bridges

The newly formed Association of Black Public Health Students issued its first annual "Building Bridges Awards" to Torrance Stephens, professor of BSHE, and Tyrone Harris, staff. Congratulations to the award winners and the dedicated students behind this new group.

In memoriam

Debra Couch, PhD, was a dedicated teacher and research coordinator who cared deeply about the welfare of students and research subjects at RSPH and Clark Atlanta University, where she taught psychology. She helped supervise research projects at RSPH and worked with Ken Resnicow on Project Excellence, an after-school program aimed at reducing substance abuse among African-American teens. She died this past spring of a massive brain hemorrhage while grading papers in bed. She will be deeply missed.

Faculty accolades

Congratulations to faculty members distinguishing themselves on campus, nationally, and around the globe.
  • Professors Ruth Berkelman (Epidemiology) and Keith Klugman (International Health) now serve on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Microbial Threats to Health in the 21st Century, which is chaired by Nobel laureate Joshua Lederburg. In addition, Klugman was also invited to join the Wellcome Trust Tropical Medicine Interest Group in London and made an honorary member of the Chilean Society of Infectious Diseases.
  • F. DuBois Bowman (Biostatistics) received a five-year NIH Mentored Quantitative Research Career Development Award for developing research in statistical methodology for neuroimaging studies. He will receive 75% salary support for the next five years.
  • Susan Butler (BSHE) was recently elected to a five-year term on the Division Board for Professional Development of the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.
  • Howard Frumkin, chair of Environmental and Occupational Health, was appointed to the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Toxicology Program and reappointed to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Roundtable on Environmental Health.
  • David Holtgrave (BSHE) is serving on the IOM Committee on Public Financing and Delivery of HIV Care.
  • Jane Nelson, Associate Director of the Center for Public Health Practice, is the first author of the recently published Public Health Competency Handbook. Joyce Essien is a co-author. The book has been distributed to state and local health departments nationwide, and the National Association of County and City Health Officials is marketing it as well. Jane is retiring this summer but will stay close by as an emeritus professor. She has served on the RSPH faculty for more than 10 years, gaining national recognition through her research on strategic planning and organizational change and her work to help public health practitioners negotiate our volatile health care environment. She has been instrumental to the National Public Health Performance Standards Program, which aims to establish consistent public health performance standards nationwide.
  • Frits Van der Haar (International Health) has been named Secretary of a public-private partnership hosted by the RSPH called the Network for Sustained Elimination of Iodine Deficiency, a partnership of 10 international organizations. This alliance includes salt producer associations from the Americas, Europe, and China, as well as WHO, UNICEF, CDC, and RSPH. The network helps countries progress toward and sustain universal salt iodization.
  • I was recently invited by Senators Bill Frist and John Kerry to serve on the Eminent Persons Panel for Global HIV/AIDS of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

James W. Curran, MD, MPH

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