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International HIV experts join faculty

I'd like to welcome Susan Allen, internationally recognized for her research on HIV prevention and spread in Africa, and her husband, Eric Hunter, one of the world's leading experts on retroviruses, to Emory. Allen has been appointed professor of international health in the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) with joint appointments in epidemiology and pathology. Hunter has been named an Eminent Scholar of the Georgia Research Alliance and will serve as professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in the School of Medicine (SOM), and both will be faculty of the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and the Emory Vaccine Center.

Prior to joining Emory, the couple conducted groundbreaking research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), helping establish that institution as one of the top AIDS research centers in the United States. Allen served as core director of UAB's CFAR and Hunter was the founding director.

Allen recently presented research findings from Rwanda and Zambia at the National Science Symposium of the NIH CFARs, held at the RSPH. Married couples are the largest risk group for HIV in many African countries, with 60% of new infections acquired from a spouse, according to Allen. However, a 70% reduction in new infections occurs when couples participate in counseling together. The field sites that Allen oversees offer outpatient medical care and voluntary testing and counseling for couples. The Couples Voluntary Counseling and Testing program is proving the most effective prevention strategy for this group.

New associate dean for research

Claire Sterk has been appointed Associate Dean of Research. Charles Howard Candler Professor and Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Sterk has chaired the Research of Emory Commission since 2001. As Associate Dean of Research, she will work with faculty and administrators to facilitate research excellence and growth within the RSPH and between RSPH and other units of the university. She also will continue to serve as department chair, to teach, and conduct research. Sterk joined our faculty in 1995 and was named department chair in 2000. An NIH-supported scholar, she is known internationally for her research in drug use, HIV, sexual risk-taking, and mental health, and she serves on the National Drug Abuse Council. Her campus service includes tenure as president of the University Senate from 2000 to 2002.

Biostatistics chair appointed

Mike Kutner has been named Rollins Professor and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics. Much of his distinguished career in research and teaching has been here at Emory. When the RSPH was formed in the early 1990s, he served as director of biostatistics as well as associate dean for academic affairs. He left in 1994 to build the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Cleveland Clinic. He has since returned to the RSPH and most recently served as interim chairman of biostatistics and director of the Biostatistics Consulting Center.

Promotions

Congratulations to Amita Manatunga, who has received promotion to professor of biostatistics. Her research interests focus on the theory and applications of survival data, and she works primarily with modeling multivariate survival data using frailty (random effects) models. She has collaborated with medical researchers in the fields of mental health, hypertension, genetics, and pharmacology and is the biostatistician at Emory's General Clinical Research Center.

Congratulations also to Aryeh Stein, promoted to associate professor of international health with tenure. Stein studies the role of nutrition in the development of chronic disease. One of his current research projects examines the reproductive outcomes of women exposed to famine during gestation in the Dutch famine of 1944-45 and the effect of famine exposure on cardiovascular risk. Stein recently received an NIH grant for education and health across the life course in Guatemala.

Distinctive development

Assistant Dean of Development and External Relations Kathryn Graves is one of a select group of people across campus to receive an Emory Award of Distinction for 2004. This year, Graves celebrates her 23rd year of service at Emory, 15 at the RSPH. This nomination for Graves by her staff brings much deserved recognition to her for extraordinary dedication to our school.

Humanitarian award winner

Biostatistics doctoral student Andrew Barclay was one of six students selected campus-wide to receive the 2004 Emory Humanitarian Award. Lance Waller, Barclay's dissertation adviser, nominated him for volunteer technical and statistical support of initiatives supporting Georgia's children, including voluntary technical consulting for Georgia nonprofit and governmental agencies. Barclay and his wife, Michelle, in partnership with Emory's School of Law, founded and endowed the Barton Child and Law Policy Clinic, which is dedicated to effecting systemic policy and process changes for the benefit of children in Georgia's child welfare system. Barclay also frequently provides information technology assistance on a variety of RSPH projects from database management transfer of juvenile court data to developing websites for Georgia Kids Count and the Georgia Child Fatality Review.

Countering pandemic influenza

The April 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology includes an article by biostatistics faculty members Ira Longini, Elizabeth Halloran, Azhar Nizam, and Yang Yang that examines containment of pandemic influenza with antiviral agents. "For the first wave of pandemic influenza or a bioterrorist influenza attack, antiviral agents would be one of the few options to contain the epidemic in the United States until adequate supplies of vaccine were available," the authors report. They conclude that vaccinating 80% of the children aged less than 19 years is almost as effective as vaccinating 80% of the population.

HSTAT

According to U.S. Census figures, the number of people without insurance increased by the largest margin in a decade. Health students at Emory have decided to do something about that alarming statistic. They've formed a nonprofit organization, Health Students Taking Action Together (H-STAT), and their current advocacy focuses on child obesity as well as proposed budget cuts in Georgia's PeachCare for Kids program. Jeffrey Koplan, vice president for health affairs at the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and joint professor at the RSPH, is acting as an adviser to the student group, whose student leaders include Rebecca Bedingfield, Nishant Shah, and Dorothy Wadsworth.

Singing the praises of an unsung heroine

Professor of Biostatistics Donna Brogan was one of five women honored as an Unsung Heroine at Emory University this February. The awards, given for the past seven years, highlight women who have demonstrated extraordinary dedication to issues affecting women at Emory or in the larger community, but whose efforts have not received formal recognition. In 1971, Brogan was the first woman appointed to a faculty position in Emory SOM's Department of Biometry and Statistics, and in 1991, she became the first female chair of the Department of Biostatistics at the RSPH. She has supported women's issues and health through research and community service.

A decade of injury prevention

The Emory Center for Injury Control is 10 years old and going strong. In the decade since it was founded by Arthur Kellermann, chair of Emergency Medicine, the center has tackled a number of issues from helmet safety and firearm-related violence to child fatalities and safety belts, garnering grants from CDC, NIH, the National Highway Traffic Safety, and others. At an anniversary celebration, the center recognized outstanding individuals and organizations who work in injury prevention and public health with the presentation of 13 career achievement awards. Among the recipients were Georgia's Director of the Division of Public Health Kathleen Toomey and the organization, Safe Kids of Georgia.

APHA awards

Recognition for the RSPH abounded at the American Public Health Association (APHA) meeting in November. Cam Escoffery, 95MPH, who teaches in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, was the recipient of the Early Career Award from the Public Health Education and Health Promotion Section of the APHA. Our students likewise raised our visibility at the conference with two poster presentations, including "Sexual Violence in Three African Conflict Situations: Unique Challenges and Differing Responses" by Sarah Raskin, International Health, and "Environmental Justice and Health Communications: A Human Rights crisis" by Aditi Vaidya, Environmental and Occupational Health. I received the John P. Snow Award from the epidemiology section, which recognizes the contribution of an epidemiologist for excellence in epidemiologic practice or research.

Faculty accolades, awards, and activities
  • Ruth L. Berkelman (Center for Public Health Preparedness and Research) presented "Preparing for Bioterrorism: the imperative for a public-private partnership" at the Sam Nunn Policy Forum in March.
  • Jay Bernhardt (BSHE) has been named associate editor of the journal Health Education Research.
  • The Georgia Alliance for Tobacco Prevention presented an Award of Excellence for Tobacco Prevention and Control to the RSPH for its support and assistance in tobacco control efforts.
  • Keith Klugman (IH) was elected to the Executive Committee of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.
  • Reynaldo Martorell (IH) has been appointed to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine as well as the newly formed Advisory Committee on Population and Public Health of the Wellcome Trust.
  • Gary W. Miller (EOH) is a member of the Neurotoxicology and Alcohol Study Section for the NIH's Center for Scientific Review.
  • Deborah McFarland (IH) has been appointed for a second three-year term to WHO's Technical Consultative Committee on Onchocerciasis.
  • In the fall of 2004, Godfrey Oakley (Epi) will be the Donald Thurston Visiting Professor at Washington University School of Medicine.
  • John L. Young, director of the Georgia Center for Cancer Statistics, received the NCI Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the SEER program. The Metropolitan Atlanta and Rural Georgia SEER Cancer Registry, based at the RSPH, received an NCI SEER recognition award.
  • Kathryn Yount (IH) is serving a two-year term as the representative for social sciences on the Executive Council of the Institute for Comparative and International Studies.


Congratulations to the faculty and students who are making the RSPH a vital training ground for public health. Keep up your good work.

James W. Curran, MD, MPH








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