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James W. Curran Scholarship Fund established

At last week’s Celebrate Rollins Dean’s Council dinner, Emory President Jim Wagner announced the creation of the James W. Curran Scholarship Fund in honor of James W. Curran’s twenty years as dean. Many friends, faculty, and alumni have contributed, along with the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation which pledged $10 million to the new scholarship endowment. To date over $10.2 million has been raised for the scholarship.  For more information, please contact Kathryn H. Graves, associate dean for development and external relations at kgraves@emory.edu.

Lash named to Winship post

Timothy Lash, professor of epidemiology, was named leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute. Andrew Miller will continue to serve as co-leader of the program. Lash succeeds Roberd “Robin” Bostick, who served as leader of the program since 2008. Tim joined Rollins in 2013. His research focuses on molecular biomarkers that predict cancer recurrence. He also is interested in age-related disparities in the quality of cancer care.Tim joins Carla Berg, associate professor of behavioral sciences and health education, in a Winship leadership role. Carla recently joined the institute's executive committee as the new associate director for population sciences,

CGSW enters into prestigious partnership


The Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (CGSW) has been approved as a partner of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), a global partnership of over 90 developing country governments, donors, civil society organizations, and other development partners. Partners work towards a common vision of universal access to safe water and adequate sanitation. Recognizing that countries and organizations achieve more by working together, SWA provides a transparent, accountable and results-oriented framework for ,action based on common values and principles.

Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health, Education, Science and Practice

Rollins received funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration to establish a Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Education, Science,and Practice. Under the direction of Carol Hogue, professor of epidemiology and the Jules & Uldeen Terry professor of maternal and child health, the five-year, $1.75 million award will establish support for masters of public health and doctoral students from underrepresented minority populations interested in maternal and child health. It will also provide support for junior maternal and child health faculty to conduct pilot research related to future NIH grant application. The Center is a Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Leadership Collaborative with Emory’s MCH Certificate Program; Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute; and Georgia State University’s Center for Leadership in Disabilities Program.



Marie Chisholm-Burns 07MPH, dean and professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has received the Chauncey I. Cooper Award from the National Pharmaceutical Association.

The award is the highest recognition given by the nationwide organization of pharmacists.



tim lash

Oct. 5: Virginia S. DeHaan Lecture in Health Promotion and Education by Nancy Krieger, professor of social epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, reception at 4 p.m., lecture at 4:30, Lawrence P. and Ann Estes Klamon Room

Oct. 7: Michael M.E. Johns Lecture in Health Policy by Mark B. McClellan, senior fellow in economic studies and director, Initiatives on Value and Innovation in Health Care, The Brookings Institution, 4:30 p.m., Lawrence P. and Ann Estes Klamon Room. Reception to follow

Oct. 23: Inaugural Harland Austin Memorial Lecture by Kenneth J. Rothman, professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health, noon, Claudia Nance Rollins Auditorium. Lunch is provided

Oct. 30: Celebrate Rollins Grand Rounds by Jeffrey Koplan, Emory’s vice president for global health, noon, Claudia Nance Rollins Auditorium. Lunch is provided

Nov. 19: The James W. Curran Lecture in the Social Determinants of Health by Ana V. Diez Roux, distinguished university professor of epidemiology and dean of the Drexel University School of Public Health, 4:30 p.m., To be determined

Nov. 20: Celebrate Rollins Grand Rounds with Dean James Curran at noon, Claudia Nance Rollins Auditorium. Lunch is provided.

*View all Rollins events on our online calendar

October 2015

Celebrate Rollins

Dean James W. Curran

This month began the celebration our 40th anniversary as a program, our 25th year as a school, and my 20th year as dean. I look back at what we have accomplished in a relatively short period of time with a great deal of pride. Rollins has grown into one of the leading schools of public health in the country, ranked 7th by U.S. News and World Report and in the top 10 in NIH-funded research. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all faculty, staff, and students—current and former—who have made these achievements possible.

We kicked off our anniversary activities on Thursday, Sept. 17, with a school-wide picnic, followed on Friday, Sept. 18, with the first of three special Celebrate Rollins Grand Rounds. Founding Dean, Raymond Greenberg, who is now vice chancellor for health affairs, University of Texas System, delivered the first address. Additional Celebrate Rollins lectures are listed in the events section of this letter.

Martha Alexander
Nancy Hunt
Dennis Jarvis

As part of the anniversary festivities, two previously endowed chairs have been renamed. Paige Tolbert now holds the O. Wayne Rollins Chair of Environmental Health and Colleen McBride is now the Grace Crum Rollins Chair of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education.

The Rollins Alumni Association marked the anniversary by creating a new award to honor leaders who have consistently inspired others through their dedication and commitment to our school. The inaugrual Outstanding Leadership Award was presented to Martha Alexander 86MPH, PhD, Nancy Hunt 87MPH, and Dennis Jarvis 88MPH, who have provided consistent leadership and meaningful service to our school for more than 20 years. Beginning as members of the task force to develop an alumni association, they were founding members of the inaugural eight-member RSPH Alumni Association Board and served as the first three presidents. Their tenures included the foundation of the RSPH mentoring program, networking events to connect alumni, and the first open houses for prospective students. Collectively, they have attended hundreds of Rollins events, mentored dozens of students, lent their expertise on innumerable panels and committees, and led the effort to establish the Kathleen R. Miner Scholarship for Public Health Excellence. During this anniversary year, it is my pleasure to recognize Martha, Nancy, and Dennis for their exceptional leadership, dedication, and continuous service to the Rollins School of Public Health.

Jonathan H. Mermin  

Jonathan H. Mermin MD, 98MPH (epidemiology) received the 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award, given by the RSPH Alumni Association in recognition of lifetime career achievement. Jon is director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) at the CDC. He spent a decade working with CDC in Africa before returning to Atlanta headquarters in 2009. With African and CDC colleagues, he developed a standard, evidence-based, basic care package for people with HIV in Africa, co-led the implementation of the first U.S. Government-funded program that provided antiretroviral therapy to people with HIV outside the United States, and, in both Kenya and Uganda, helped develop a fellowship program, modeled after the EIS, to train leaders in HIV prevention and care. In Atlanta, Jon has focused CDC’s efforts toward “high impact prevention.” This approach uses proven interventions and policies to ensure that resources are going to the most cost-effective, scalable activities—ultimately, maximizing decreases in incidence of infection, morbidity, mortality, and health disparities.

Matthew S. Biggerstaff  

Matthew S. Biggerstaff, 01Ox, 03C, 06MPH (global environmental health) was awarded the 2015 Matthew Lee Girvin Award by the RSPH Alumni Association. He currently serves on the Epidemiologic Research and Support Team in the Influenza Division. In 2006, immediately following graduation, Matt joined the CDC in the Enteric Diseases Epidemiology Branch, where he played key roles in significant foodborne disease outbreak investigations, including a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections that led to one of the largest recalls of ground beef in the U.S. Moving to the Influenza Division in 2009, Matt was detailed as a deputy of the Epidemiology Team during the H1N1 influenza pandemic. During his tenure in flu, Matt has become a recognized expert in the use of digital surveillance data and forecasting methodology to complement traditional surveillance methods. He co-developed the Pandemic Severity Assessment Framework, an original and innovative tool to assess the severity of influenza pandemics in the U.S. Matt is a past president of the Rollins School of Public Health Alumni Board. He currently serves on the Rollins Career Services’ Community Advisory Board and the Emory Alumni Board, where he is a member of the Executive Board and chair of the Student to Alumni Committee.

$8.3 million NIH grant expands exposome research

In collaboration with Georgia Tech and Emory schools of medicine and nursing, Gary Miller has been awarded an $8.3 million grant by the NIH to establish a National Exposure Assessment Laboratory. The new program builds upon the emerging concept of the exposome-- the environmental equivalent of the genome. We took a leadership role in this emerging field of study in 2013 when we awarded a center grant entitled HERCULES: Health and Exposome Research Center. The new assessment laboratory will join a network of laboratories that will measure the impact of environmental chemicals on children’s health.

Welcome Class of 2016


In August we welcomed more than 530 MPH/MSPH students, bringing total enrollment to 1,188. The incoming students hail from 40 states and 40 countries.

Developing an FETP in Liberia


CDC Director Tom Frieden (front row, third from left), U.S. Liberia Ambassador Deborah Malac (front row, fourth from left), Ghana Farhat (front row, fifth from left), and Scott McNabb (front row, far right) with the first cohort in the new FETP. (Click to view image large)

Rollins is partnering with the CDC to develop a Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Liberia. The first cohort of 30 Ministry of Health Surveillance experts have begun the FETP basic 18-week in-service course. The U.S. Liberia Ambassador Deborah Malac and CDC Director Tom Frieden visited the trainees during their first week. Training the MoH officials on the ground is the first step in rebuilding the health systems after Ebola. Scott McNabb, research professor of global health, is the principal investigator of the project, and Ghada Farhat, associate professor of global health, is the chief epidemiologist.

New grants


Viola Vaccarino (epidemiology) was awarded $3 million over four years from the NIH to examine whether posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) increases the risk of heart disease. Although a lot is already known on the determinants and treatment modalities for heart disease, this condition continues to be the leading cause of disability, hospitalizations, health care expenditures, and death in the United States. PTSD is a common chronic psychiatric condition which has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, but rigorous data are limited. To clarify whether such connection exists, Vaccarino will follow-up a cohort of twins she had examined at baseline about 10 years ago, and explore possible mechanisms or risk.

Patrick Sullivan (epidemiology) was awarded $3.8 million by the CDC for a four-year study to develop brief HIV prevention messages for men who have sex with men, and to test the efficacy of the messages by delivering them through a smartphone app. Sullivan expects that providing these prevention messages will result in decreased sexual behaviors associated with HIV transmission or acquisition, and better medication adherence for men living with HIV. 

Rollins faculty received 136 other research grants for research and training from mid-May through September 1. View the complete list.

Appointments and Promotions

New faculty
  • Lauren Christiansen-Lindquist, Instructor, Epidemiology

  • Natalie Crawford, Assistant Professor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Jodie Guest, Research Professor, Epidemiology

  • Kelli Stidham Hall, Assistant Professor, Behavioral Sciences and Health Education

  • Renee Moore, Research Associate Professor, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

  • Eduardo Perez, Lecturer, Global Health

  • Adam Wilk, Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Management

  • We added 11 post doctoral fellows. For a complete list, click here.

Faculty promotions
  • Mohammed Ali, Assistant Professor to Associate Professor, Global Health

  • Samantha Kate Winskell Enger, Assistant Professor to Associate Professor, Global Health

  • Kathryn Yount, Associate Professor to Professor, Global Health

Staff additions and promotions
We added 35 new members to our staff and promoted 10 others. For the complete list, click here.
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