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Upcoming DeHaan lecture

On April 22 at 6:00 PM in the Rita Anne Rollins Room, Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey III will present the 2003 Virginia S. DeHaan lecture. The first attorney general in the nation to bring an antitrust and consumer fraud lawsuit against the tobacco industry, Humphrey has been recognized nationally for his accomplishments as an anti-crime activist, watchdog for taxpayers- interests, children's advocate, environmental leader, and consumer protector. Currently, he is senior vice president at GCI Tunheim, where he provides strategic public affairs counsel to a variety of business, nonprofit, and government clients. He also serves as a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health's Division of Epidemiology. A reception follows the lecture, which honors the memory of an outstanding faculty member of the public health community.

The role of research

The Commission on Research--made up of 28 faculty members from across campus and co–chaired by Claire Sterk, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Behavioral Science and Health Education––recently released an 80–page draft on research at Emory. Developed as part of the critical self–study component for Emory's accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the draft gives an empirical snapshot of the current state of research at Emory. With input from campus groups and from information–gathering meetings, the commission plans to produce a final report in September. The draft (at gives a set of six guiding principles for consideration:
  • Ideas, their corresponding modes of inquiry, and their intellectual communities should drive Emory's development.
  • Faculty and administrative leaders must collaborate creatively and effectively to advance Emory's intellectual priorities.
  • Emory should increase resources to its scholars and its intellectual community to allow the highest standards of innovation and excellence.
  • The infrastructure supporting research should seek to improve scholarly work while acknowledging that needs may vary across career stages, areas of knowledge, and cultures of research.
  • As ethical guardians of scholarly inquiry, Emory should address society's needs and concerns while recognizing the scholar's obligation to intellectual independence.
  • Our substantial endowment carries with it the responsibility to achieve the highest level of excellence as a research university. Administrative and faculty leaders should reassess current priorities for resource allocation and seek ways to maximize Emory's development.

Kretchmer award

In April, Usha Ramakrishnan, assistant professor in the Department of International Health, will receive the prestigious Norman Kretchmer Memorial Award in Nutrition and Development. This award is given to a young investigator aged 45 years or younger for a substantial body of independent research in the field of nutrition and development with potential relevance to improving child health. Reynaldo Martorell, Woodruff Professor of International Health and chair of the department, nominated her for the Kretchmer award. Ramakrishnan is currently engaged in ongoing studies in Mexico that examine the effect of micronutrient supplementation on pregnant women and children from 3 months to two years. She also is leading a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initiative to design a digitally based training program for nutrition professionals worldwide. The program will cover basic information on global nutritional status, as well as nuts–and–bolts training on how to assess, survey, and evaluate local nutrition projects.

New assistant dean for student affairs

I'd like to welcome JoNell (Jody) Usher as assistant dean for student affairs, a newly created position at the RSPH. Usher has a PhD in cognitive and developmental psychology from Emory and has served in a number of administrative roles on campus, including assistant dean of Emory College, assistant and associate dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and associate director of the Student Information System. Most recently, she served as assistant to the president for special projects, in which she headed the exhibit and related programs for "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America." She will oversee activities related to serving RSPH students and coordinate student advising across the school.

Farewell to John Youngblood

In April, John Youngblood, director of student services, will assume a new position as director of student affairs and admissions in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. He built the office of student services at the RSPH and has been a tireless advocate for students throughout his tenure here. Among his many accomplishments, he developed and launched the Public Health Employment Connection, a unique national website listing public health positions, which was formally adopted by the Association of Schools of Public Health. He also developed the Public Health Candidate Connection, a website used by our students to market their availability and skills to prospective employers. His service and accomplishments have made the RSPH a better place, and we look forward to collaborations between public health and nursing as he moves next door.

Humanitarian award winner

For the seventh year running, a student from the RSPH has been selected as one of Emory's annual Humanitarian Award recipients. Nishant Shah, a Robert W. Woodruff Scholar who is enrolled in the MD/MPH program, was one of seven 2003 humanitarians recognized in January. As an undergraduate of Emory College, Shah volunteered to tutor refugee children in Clarkston, Ga., and served in the Catholic Social Services Refugee Family Friends Program, teaching adult English. He also tutored Bosnian children after school through All Saints Episcopal Church and did additional volunteer work on behalf of Bosnian refugees. After graduating with a 3.9 GPA with degrees in anthropology and human biology, Shah spent almost a year in Cambodia, where he helped develop management tools and nutrition education programs at the Angkor Hospital for Children. During medical school, he has participated in significant political action groups to improve the health care of those who are underserved, according to Executive Associate Dean of Medicine Jack Shulman, who nominated Shah. A leader of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Shah helped organize a student group interested in alternative medicine, and he volunteers frequently at the Open Door Community Health Clinic. He plans to begin his year of public health studies in the fall.

Lessons from Senegal

The Senegal cultural awareness initiative, coordinated by the RSPH Association of Black Public Health Students, was a big success, according to faculty and students recently back from Africa. Ronald Braithwaite (Behavioral Science and Health Education) served as faculty adviser to seven students who traveled to Senegal in January. Their focus, says trip organizer Tameka Ray, was to study firsthand the success of Senegal in maintaining a low incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Based on her experiences there, including visits to hospitals and health facilities, she believes that Senegal's health care system works well because of close collaboration on health among government, health care officials, and religious leaders. The trip also offered students insights into the culture of Senegal, where they dined with host families and toured markets, churches, and historic landmarks. They even attended local concerts, hearing mbalax music and learning the accompanying dances. "I believe these types of initiatives provide one with a global perspective not only to public health but also life in general," says Ray. "Pictures do not do justice to the true experience received in an African country," writes Kweli Rashied–Walker, an alumnus who participated in the initiative. "I recommend that this trip, or similar trips to African countries, become a part of the fabric of the public health experience at the RSPH."

The legal angle on public health

A new book seeks to explain the law of public health practice to people with limited or no background in law. With 20 chapters that range from criminal law to vaccination mandates, The Law in Public Health Practice provides a thorough examination of the legal basis of public health practice and covers emerging areas where law and public health intersect. CDC's Richard Goodman, adjunct professor at the RSPH, is co–editor of the volume, and Professor of Epidemiology James Buehler is a contributor.

Recognition at APHA

Several faculty members were honored with awards at the American Public Health Association (APHA) meeting in Philadelphia in the fall. Congratulations to:
  • William Foege (International Health), who received the Presidential Citation in recognition of "extraordinary contributions to public health,"
  • Stan Foster (International Health), for the Career Achievement Award, section on international health,
  • Jennifer Hirsch (International Health), for the Outstanding New Professional Award, section on population, family planning, and reproductive health,
  • Deborah Houry (Center for Injury Control), for the Jay S. Drotman Memorial Award, recognizing her outstanding contributions to research and leadership within the specialty of emergency medicine, and
  • Jeffrey Koplan (Epidemiology and Health Policy and Management), who was honored with the Public Health Heroes Citation, which recognizes extraordinary leadership in protecting the health and safety of the public.
  • Jay Bernhardt (Behavioral Science and Health Education) has been named chair of APHA's Task Force on Association Improvement and Reorganization of the American Public Health Association. The Task Force is charged with conducting a comprehensive assessment of the association and developing recommendations that can make it more effective and efficient in operations.

Honors and accolades

  • Jeffrey Koplan (Epidemiology and Health Policy and Management) received an honorary fellowship at the 53rd annual meeting of the Society for Public Health Education.
  • Claire Sterk (Behavioral Science and Health Education) has been appointed to the National Institute on Drug Abuse Council.
  • 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 work on a perinatal hepatitis B case management initiative.
  • I received the John T. McGovern award from the Association of Academic Health Centers.

James W. Curran, MD, MPH

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