Dean CurranDean James W. Curran
Striving for Excellence

The Rollins School of Public Health is on a remarkable journey that has spanned more than 35 years. I am especially indebted to all of you for various reasons.

The faculty give time and talent to train and mentor leaders who promote health and prevent disease around the world, and to conduct state-of-the-art research to improve health. Our amazing students offer a commitment to embracing challenges and seeking skills to strengthen their careers in public health.

The staff provide outstanding support of teaching and research missions and provide structure in technology, building operations, and administration. Our visionary Campaign Emory supporters contribute financial investments that enhance our efforts to protect humankind’s most valuable asset—good health.
This newsletter highlights some of our most recent accomplishments. These successes, and many others, give us just cause to be proud and optimistic. Please send additional news items we may have missed to me through Tarvis Thompson, Communications Manager.

Thank you for all you have done and are doing to move us forward. Let's remain inspired by the energy that propelled us to new heights in 2010.

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PhD program in environmental health sciences

Paige Tolbert
EH Chair Paige Tolbert

The RSPH in collaboration with Emory's Laney Graduate School will begin enrolling students in a new doctoral program in environmental health sciences next fall. The PhD program, approved by the Emory Board of Trustees in February, will provide comprehensive training for students to become fluent in population-based and laboratory-based research in environmental health sciences by bridging the interdisciplinary areas of human population research and laboratory-based toxicological and exposure assessment research. The University-wide program, directed by Gary Miller, is part of a vision to improve human health by better understanding the impact of environmental factors in the development of disease. It also will strengthen research efforts in the Department of Environmental Health (EH).

Public Health Informatics Distance Learning

Career MPH (CMPH) is launching a new course track in Applied Public Health Informatics beginning in the fall of 2011. The track joins the existing distance learning programs in Applied Epidemiology, Healthcare Outcomes, and Prevention Science.

The Applied Public Health Informatics track is designed for working professionals who have a background in public health or computer and information science/technology. Students will learn to design components of public health information systems, to create and manage informatics for successful outcomes, and to develop evaluation and research skills. To learn more about the Applied Public Health Informatics track, visit the CMPH web site.

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Research funding continues to rise

Research awards at Rollins rose by 7% to $64 million last year and are up again 20% for the first four months of this fiscal year. The following faculty have received funds thus far for research and training:

EPA Clean Air Research Center
With Paige Tolbert, chair of the Department of Environmental Health, as a co-principal investigator (and Georgia Tech as a partner), the Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $8 million to establish a Clean Air Research Center at Rollins, one of four centers in the nation. The five-year grant will support the efforts of the integrated, multidisciplinary research center to advance understanding of air pollution and human health effects.

Bryan Meltz Safe Water
Image by Bryan Meltz
Emory Photo

Center for Global Safe Water Receives Gates Grant
The Center for Global Safe Water received a $2.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study ways in which individuals are exposed to human waste in cities of the developing world. Christine Moe and Clair Null in the Hubert Department of Global Health, Peter Teunis, visiting professor in the HGH and member of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, and Bernard Keraita of the International Water Management Institute will lead the study with an analysis of sanitation practices and facilities in Accra, Ghana.

Udall Parkinson's Disease Research Center
Emory University is the recipient of $1 million each year for the next five years to support a Morris K. Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s Disease Research. The Emory Udall Center will focus on four main projects and two cores. Project 3, led by Gary Miller, associate dean for research, will examine the efficacy of a novel class of compounds developed at Emory that are aimed at restoring function in Parkinson's disease.

Emory Public Health Training Center
Kathy Miner is principal investigator and Moose Alperin and Laura Lloyd are coordinators of a $650,000 institutional training grant from HRSA to establish the Emory Public Health Training Center (PHTC). Housed at Rollins, the Emory PHTC serves as a learning community that builds competence in the current and future public health workforce, exposes public health students to the value of working in underserved areas, and advocates for public health systems and policies.

Mental Stress Ischemia Program Project Grant
Viola Vaccarino
is a collaborator on an $11 million NIH program project grant (in partnership with the Division of Cardiology in the School of Medicine) to study mental stress ischemia. The five-year grant supports three studies involving about 650 Emory patients with stable coronary artery disease to determine prognostic factors/mechanisms that may cause people with mental stress ischemia to have adverse outcomes. In her study, Vaccarino will investigate what role the brain may play in mental stress ischemia.

Additional Grants:

  • BIOS
    Robert LylesAccessible Handling of Misclassified or Missing Binary Variables in CER Studies

  • BSHE
    Ralph DiClemente
    Reducing Alcohol-Related HIV Risk in African American Females (NIH)

    Kimberly Arriola
    – Social and Behavioral Interventions to Increase Organ and Tissue Donation (HRSA)

  • EH
    William CaudleVesicular Monoamine Transporter 2 as a Mediator of PBDE Neurotoxicity (NIH)

  • EPI
    Penelope Howards –
    A Population-Based Study of Fertility in Female Survivors of Young Adult Cancers (NIH)

    David Howard – An Evaluation of Vaccination Practices of Nursing Home Residents and Staff (CDC)

  • HGH
    Carlos del RioEmory-Ethiopia Global Interdisciplinary Partnership (NIH)

    Sandy ThurmanFaith-Based Community Partnerships: Reaching Vulnerable Populations (Association of State and Territorial Health Officials)

  • HPM
    Ron GoetzelPreventive Psychological Health Demonstration Projects (Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education)

In other funding news:

The Office of University–Community Partnerships recently funded the RSPH Community Engaged Learning Initiative, led by Kristin Unzicker, with $55,000 to institutionalize and strengthen capacity for scholarship and community service opportunities for public health students. Community-engaged learning is a vital component in how RSPH students “learn while doing” as part of their public health education and practice. RSPH students participate in a myriad of volunteer opportunities, service learning initiatives, and co-curricular activities that aim to connect helpful resources to our valuable community partners. 

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Keith Klugman


Klugman to Receive Top Science Medal
The Royal Society of South Africa will honor Keith Klugman with the 2011 John F.W. Herschel Medal—the top science award in South Africa. The medal recognizes Klugman’s multidisciplinary contributions to science in South Africa and reducing childhood mortality by implementing conjugate pneumococcal vaccinations in developing countries. Klugman, the William H. Foege Professor of Global Health, will receive the award in September at the society’s annual dinner in Cape Town.

Martorell Honored for Research in Latin America
The Carlos Slim Health Institute recently selected Reynaldo Martorell as the 2011 Carlos Slim Award (Fourth Edition) recipient in the Research Career category. Martorell received the award for his contributions to landmark studies on the effects of childhood nutrition on health throughout Latin America. Martorell is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of International Nutrition in the HGH and was chair of the department from 1997 to 2009.

Embrey and Egner
L to R: Sally Embrey and Rebecca Egner

Rollins Students Receive 2011 Humanitarian Awards
MPH students Sally Embrey (EH/EPI) and Rebecca Egner (HGH) were recently named two of Emory University’s 2011 Humanitarian Award recipients. Students are nominated for the awards by peers and faculty members for demonstrating honesty, integrity, responsibility, and a sense of community; for special acts of courage and friendship; and for committing time and energy in service to others.

Egner participates in the Rollins Peace Corps Fellows Program, where she leads Masters International students in educating refugee women in the Atlanta area on pertinent physical and mental health issues. Embrey works closely with Doctors Without Borders and the Blacksmith Institute to assess neurological disorders in children affected by acute lead poisoning in contaminated villages in Nigeria.

Rollins Lifts Emory’s Peace Corps Ranking
With the activities at Rollins supplying a major boost, Emory recently was ranked No. 15 in the Peace Corps’ annual national rankings of medium-sized Peace Corps volunteer-producing schools, a jump of 10 positions from last year’s 25th-place ranking.

“The amount of interest in the Peace Corps on the Emory campus is beyond our expectations,” says Kenton Ayers, Peace Corps Regional Manager. “In particular, the Rollins School of Public Health is certainly one of our top advocates in the nation hosting an exceptional Masters International Program and a newly established Peace Corps Fellows Program.”

John Seffrin
John Seffrin

Seffrin Appointed by President Obama
President Barack Obama announced in January his intent to appoint John Seffrin as a member of the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, serves as an adjunct professor in BSHE and a member of the RSPH Dean’s Council.

Gary Miller, associate dean for research, was the recipient of the Mentor of the Year award from Emory's Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (GDBBS). He was among 14 faculty nominated by GDBBS students. Miller was honored at the first annual awards night hosted by the GDBBS and the Laney Graduate School last fall.

Public Health Magazine Recognized
Emory Public Health received a Grand Gold Award in the the CASE District III Awards Program. The magazine was honored for its 2010 issues on “Caring for Haiti” and “Rising to New Heights: 35 Years of Public Health at Emory” in the alumni magazine category. The competition includes colleges and universities in the Southeast.

Claudia Nance Rollins Building Construction Prize
The Georgia Chapter of the American Concrete Institute recently honored Rollins with a first- place award in the mid-rise category for the Claudia Nance Rollins Building. The annual competition recognizes creative, innovative, aesthetic, and imaginative uses of concrete and concrete masonry in new construction and concrete restoration projects.

Congratulations to all!

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New faculty and key staff appointments

Like our student body, the number of RSPH faculty keeps growing. In recent months, we’ve promoted or recruited key faculty, including the following:

  • BIOS
    Jose Binongo, Jeanne Kowalski, Yuan Liu, and Hao Wu

  • BSHE
    Linelle Blais and Lara DePadilla

  • EH
    Parinya Panuwet, William Caudle, and Thomas Guillot III

  • EPI
    Lyndsey Darrow and Michael Kramer

  • HGH
    Cheryl Day and Amy Webb Girard

After six years as the Academic Sevices Specialist for Dick Levinson, Melissa Sherrer recently became the new Assistant Director of Academic Programs (ADAP) in BIOS.

The Office of Admissions and Student Services hired Tracy Wachholz, formerly the ADAP for BIOS, as its Director of Admissions and Recruitment and Carolynn Miller, formerly with the Office of Business and Finance Administration, as the Senior Business Manager, and recruited new hires Prudence Goss (Associate Director of Admissions and Recruitment) and Yeyme Reyes (Admissions Analyst).

The RSPH also welcomed Tarvis Thompson as Communications Manager.

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Upcoming Events
*View all Rollins events

Virginia S. DeHaan Lecture on Health Promotion and Education
March 23, 2011
4 p.m.
Rita Anne Rollins Room, Grace Crum Rollins Building

Visit Emory!

March 24-25, 2011

National Public Health Week
April 4-10, 2011

Donna J. Brogan Lecture in Biostatistics
"U.S. Census Bureau: Measuring America"
Speaker: Robert M. Groves, PhD (Director, U.S. Census Bureau)
April 18, 2011
4 p.m.
Lawrence P. & Ann Estes Klamon Room, Claudia Nance Rollins Building

Public Health in Action Awards

April 21, 2011

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Campaign Emory
Campaign Emory

RSPH support for Campaign Emory tops $142 million

Mike Kutner
Michael Kutner

To date, the RSPH has raised more than $142 million—95% of our $150 million goal—as part of Campaign Emory. The university has raised $1.19 billion or 75% of its $1.6 billion goal. With less than two years to go, the RSPH is on track to meet its dollar goal, but support is still needed to increase the school’s endowment. 

Recently, Michael Kutner provided generous gifts to endow the Michael H. Kutner Award for Excellence in Biostatistics and the Michael H. Kutner Fund for Biostatistics and Bioinformatics to support PhD students. Faculty and staff were instrumental in helping complete the Seating Our Future Campaign. A party for all donors and recipients of chairs purchased in the Rollins Auditorium is scheduled for March 31. Gifts to the campaign resulted in more than $32,000 for scholarship funds! To learn more, visit MyEmory.

Campaign Emory

To view The Dean’s Letter online, visit our web page. To submit news items for future issues, please contact Tarvis Thompson, Rollins Communications Manager, at 727-3516 or tthomp8@emory.edu, or Pam Auchmutey in Health Sciences Publications at 712-9265 or pam.auchmutey@emory.edu.



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