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Hubert Department of Global Health

In September, the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) celebrated 30 years of public health at Emory and the 15th anniversary of the founding of the school. With President James Wagner and Woodruff Health Sciences CEO Michael Johns, I hosted an anniversary event attended by more than 115 trustees, Dean's Council members, alumni, faculty, and friends. During the event, Richard Hubert gave cause for additional celebration with the presentation of a check to support global health at the RSPH. Already, the Hubert Foundation has endowed two chairs at the RSPH--the Ruth and O.C. Hubert Chair and the William H. Foege Chair in Global Health--and supported an endowment that allows more than 40 students each year to travel overseas for field research. To date, the foundation has contributed $5 million to the school on the way to a $10 million commitment. To honor the foundation's impact on the school's work, the Department of Global Health is taking on a new name. The Hubert Department of Global Health (HGH) is the first named department on the Emory campus. Led by Robert W. Woodruff Professor of International Nutrition Reynaldo Martorell, it offers an MPH program and cosponsors a PhD program in nutrition and health sciences with other units of Emory University and the CDC. It also has collaborative programs with the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH) and Emory School of Nursing. With complementary strengths in infectious diseases and vaccine development as well as public health partnerships with the CDC, The Carter Center, CARE, and others, very few schools are positioned as well as Emory to succeed in the important work of global health.

A decade of solid growth

The passage of 10 years in the life of a school is a time for taking stock, and statistics from the past decade at the RSPH reveal a steady track of solid growth. In my 10-year tenure as dean, we've experienced a 39% increase in faculty and a 303% increase in staff. Our alumni body grew from fewer than 850 in 1995 to more than 3,700 in 2005, with RSPH alums working in 91 countries. The school's endowment increased from $2.5 million in 1996 to $37.5 million. We've increased our endowed chairs to 18, and awards in sponsored research have grown by 326%. In looking more closely at research awards, we ranked 10th among all U.S. schools of public health in funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2004, up from 12th the previous year. The $20.8 million in NIH funding last year was a 37% increase over 2003 funding of $15.2 million, and total research funding for the RSPH during the 2004�2005 academic year topped $46.6 million. The RSPH is now the sixth largest school of public health in the nation in enrollment, the second largest in African American enrollment, and the fourth largest in numbers of global health students. Our numbers speak for themselves, but let me send my heartfelt congratulations to colleagues and faculty who have made this tremendous growth a possibility.

New Georgia Cancer Coalition Scholars

The Georgia Cancer Coalition (GCC) is a statewide effort to tackle cancer in Georgia, and the recruitment of 150 scholars with a distinguished track record in cancer research is dramatically increasing the amount of federally funded cancer research Georgia. Of 18 faculty recruited with GCC support in 2005, four joined the RSPH faculty: Robin Bostick (EPI) is a molecular epidemiologist and physician whose research focuses on colon and prostate cancer biomarkers and nutrition and genetic cancer risk; Andre Rogatko (BIO), who holds joint appointments with Emory School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute, has special expertise in statistical methods involving clinical trial design and genetic epidemiology; Jo Stryker (BSHE) designs preventive health campaigns for the mass media and researches the relationship between communication and health behavior; and Paul Terry (EPI) focuses on the etiology of cancers of the digestive tract and hormone-mediated cancers. These awards bring the total GCC scholars at the RSPH to eight.

After Katrina

Among many ways in which the RSPH community responded generously to people affected by Hurricane Katrina was helping a busload of graduate students enrolled at Tulane University find refuge in Atlanta. Faculty and staff hosted more than 30 displaced international students in their homes overnight, and the Student Government Association held a reception for the newcomers. Shannon Shelton coordinated a special orientation session for the international students, and the school created a listserv to deliver important updates and information to this student population. Maureen Lichtveld, chair of environmental health at Tulane and an adjunct faculty member at RSPH, coordinated housing for the Tulane students and helped them in their transition to Atlanta. Karla Daniels, associate director of development, coordinated the RSPH Alumni Association's donation of Target gift cards. Currently, a total of 25 master's and six doctoral students displaced by Katrina have enrolled and are attending classes at the RSPH.

CDC directors from RSPH

Congratulations to Howard Frumkin (EOH) and Jay Bernhardt (BSHE) on their new leadership positions at CDC. Frumkin, former professor and chair of Environmental and Occupational Health at the RSPH, is director of CDC's National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Bernhardt, founding director of the Center for Public Health Communication at the RSPH, is director of a newly created National Center for Health Marketing at CDC.

Acting chair of EOH

Paige Tolbert is serving as interim chair of the Department of EOH. Tolbert, an NIH investigator, conducts research in environmental and occupational epidemiology, with emphasis on studies of chemical exposures and acute and chronic health outcomes. She also codirects the joint MSPH program in Environmental and Occupational Health and Epidemiology.

Improving the community's mental health

Benjamin Druss (HPM) is working with leaders in four federally designated community health centers in Georgia to improve the ability to detect and treat depression. Funded by a $217,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the project began this spring with meetings to discuss needs, challenges, and improvements at Palmetto Health Council, MedLink Georgia, TenderCare, and West End Medical Center. In the next phase, a team of mental health and Medicaid experts will help the CEOs of these centers identify practical and reimbursable methods of improving depression care. The Carter Center and Morehouse School of Medicine are collaborating on the initiative.

SORT wins Linkage Award

The Student Outreach and Response Team (SORT) took second place in the 2005 Linkage Awards. Presented annually by the Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practice, the awards recognize exemplary community-based collaborative activities between pubic health practice agencies and academic institutions. The Center for Public Health Preparedness and Research at the RSPH and the DeKalb County Board of Health developed SORT to bridge the gap between classroom theories and the realities of public health practice. The winning project was an initiative known as "Developing Future Public Health Leaders through Innovation."

New admissions director

As the RSPH director of admissions, Kara Brown Robinson is collaborating with faculty and staff to build a successful admissions and recruitment program. Her first goals for the office are to review and enhance the current admissions process and to work with a school-wide recruitment committee to develop recruitment initiatives. She invites faculty and staff participation in this initiative. For more information, contact her at

Supporting the AIDS walk

A team of walkers that included the RSPH raised $1,035 for the AIDS walk, which took place in October. Sponsored by the Student Government Association and the Association of Black Public Health Students, the walkers surpassed their goal of $1,000 for AIDS prevention.

Interfaith Health Program expansion

In August, the Interfaith Health Program of the RSPH joined forces with Methodist HealthCare in Memphis, expanding its mission and reach to Tennessee. The partners will test innovative approaches to collaboration and interventions to address social, behavioral, and economic determinants that underlie some of the most intractable public health problems, including heart disease, cancer mortality, and infant mortality. Gary Gunderson (HGH) will serve in a dual capacity in Atlanta and Memphis, retaining his appointment as director of the IHP and adding the new position of senior vice-president for health and welfare ministries at Methodist, the second largest private, not-for-profit hospital system in the county.

Faculty accolades, awards, and activities

  • Edmund Becker (HPM) received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University, where he received an MA in 1973.
  • William Foege (HGH) will receive the 2005 World Citizen Award from the World Affairs Council in Seattle, WA, on November 17.
  • David Kleinbaum (EPI) has been selected a fellow of the American Statistical Association. He also is the recipient of the Association of Schools of Public Health/Pfizer Teaching Award.
  • Keith Klugman (HGH) has begun a three-year term as chair of the international committee of the American Society of Microbiology. He also is serving as vice president of the International Union of Microbiological Societies.
  • Art Kellermann (Emergency Medicine, EOH) received the 2005 Charles R. Hatcher Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Health from the RSPH in May.
  • Richard Levinson (BSHE) received Emory University's highest honor, the Thomas Jefferson Award, at Commencement 2005.
  • Godfrey Oakley (EPI) is the first winner of the American College of Epidemiology Outstanding Achievement Award in Applied Epidemiology for his use of epidemiologic data to increase the use of folic acid to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects.
  • John Young, Kevin Ward, Mary Streeter, and other staff members of the Georgia Center for Cancer Statistics played a major role in helping the Georgia Cancer Registry receive gold certification, the highest level, from the North American Association of Cancer Registries for 2002 data.

James W. Curran, MD, MPH

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