Dean Curran  

Dean James W. Curran

Graduation is upon us

The end of the school year is somewhat bittersweet—we're saying goodbye to another class of Rollins students. But I take pleasure in knowing that their entry into the public health field will help fuel progress in the years to come on many of the world's most challenging issues.

One Emory graduate who is advancing public health in Georgia is our commencement speaker, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald 77M. She heads up the Georgia Department of Public Health, the state's lead agency in preventing disease, injury, and disability, promoting health, and responding to health concerns resulting from disasters. I was among many in public health who advocated for the elevation of public health as a agency, which was established in 2011.

Please take note that our commencement location this year has changed. We'll be on McDonough Field on Monday, May 13. The ceremony starts at 12 p.m. See you there!

Stan Foster retires

L-R: Carlos del Rio, Stan Foster, Bill Foege, and James Curran with their bow ties.  

Bow ties were not optional at the last lecture given by Stanley Foster 82MPH on April 17. To honor the retiring professor of global health, faculty, students, alumni, colleagues, and family donned Foster's characteristic neck wear for a talk that spanned his distinguished 50-year career.

That career began as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at the CDC. It took him around the world to work on epidemics from eradicating smallpox in Nigeria and Bangladesh to combatting childhood communicable diseases in 13 countries in Africa. For the past 20 years, Foster has taught at the RSPH, being a mentor to his "learners" both in and outside of the classroom and a beloved teacher known for his storytelling. He was still telling stories at his last lecture of living with nomads in Kenya to contain a smallpox outbreak near the Somali border, where he existed on camel's milk and sorghum, and working with his wife, Dottie Foster, to lead an empowerment workshop for women each summer in Guatemala.

He also had some final lessons to impart. Among them, "Don't assume that the strategy you are using is the right strategy. Learn from your failures. Don't underestimate the importance of optimism. And finally, remember that humor helps." View a video tribute to Foster.

Even in retirement, Stan and Dottie Foster are continuing to support students. Their generous donation to the RSPH has established the Stan and Dottie Foster Fund, which will support students engaged in a global field experience. Make a gift today. For more information, please contact Kathleen Presswala or at 404-712-8687.

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Hatcher Award recognizes Eugene Gangarosa

Eugene Gangarosa and wife Rose  

The RSPH recently honored Eugene J. Gangarosa, professor emeritus of global health, with the 2013 Charles Hatcher Jr. M.D. Award for Excellence in Public Health. Gangarosa is the 11th recipient of the award, which honors health sciences faculty for their lifetime contributions to public health. The award is named for Charles Hatcher, former Emory vice president for health affairs, to recognize his role in creation of the school.

Gangarosa is known far and wide as an educator and expert in enteric diseases. After serving for 14 years in various leadership roles at CDC, he established a school of public health at American University in Beirut. He joined Emory in 1982 and subsequently transformed a small graduate program into what would become the School of Public Health in 1990.

Gangarosa continues to teach students about foodborne and waterborne diseases and support the work of Emory's Center for Global Safe Water. During Campaign Emory, he and his wife, Rose, endowed two professorships in safe water and environmental health that are named for each of them.

"Gene, we are so proud of you," said Hatcher during the award ceremony. "Congratulations to you and Rose for all you have done and mean to the Rollins School of Public Health."

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BSHE chair search under way

MIchael Windle  
Paige Tolbert  

Michael Windle will be stepping down as chair of the Department of Behavioral Science and Health Education after six years of excellent service to devote more time to his research, and the school has launched a national search for his successor. Paige Tolbert, professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Health, is chairing the search committee, assisted by Laura Lloyd, director of Continuing Professional Education.

The committee is comprised of faculty from BSHE and other RSPH departments, as well as representatives from the School of Medicine. The position has been advertised through a broad variety of venues, such as major print and online journals and relevant professional listservs, and members of the search committee are personally contacting an extensive list of key people in the field to ensure wide awareness of the opening. Applications have begun to come in, which will be reviewed by the search committee over the summer, and finalists will be invited for interview visits this fall.

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New Emory collaborative center in Shanghai

To the right of the sign are Mark Rapaport, chair of psychiatry, Emory; Barbara Rothbaum, clinical research professor of psychiatry, Emory; and Michael Phillips, global health, RSPH, and director of the Collaborative Center.  

Emory and Shanghai Jiao Tong University recently opened the Shanghai Mental Health Center-Emory University Collaborative Center for Global Mental Health in Shanghai. The center will advance shared research projects among faculty. (The Shanghai Mental Health Center treats 1 million patients each year.)

Michael Phillips (psychiatry and global health) was named director of the center. He received his psychiatric training in the United States but has lived in China since 1985 while conducting research. In addition to being on the faculty at Emory, he is a faculty member at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Shanghai Mental Health Center.

Phillips and other faculty from Shanghai Jiao Tong visited Emory in April to discuss research opportunities. In their first project, center partners will work with the government of India and the World Health Organization to improve access to mental health care in India. Read more about the center.

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Experts unite against polio



More than 400 scientists, doctors, and technical experts from around the world signed their names to the Scientific Declaration on Polio Eradication. The declaration endorses the Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan, a new strategy by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to eradicate polio by 2018. The plan calls for improved routine immunization systems and offers data-driven strategies to overcome operational challenges in immunization campaigns. Emory's signees include James Curran, William Foege, Walt Orenstein, Rafi Ahmed, and Barbara Stoll.

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Visit Emory sets a record

In late March, the RSPH hosted 320 newly admitted students—a record number—and approximately 100 guests for Visit Emory. This annual event was brought to life by the commitment of our students, including the RSPH Student Ambassadors and members of several organizations. Additionally, 90 student volunteers hosted visiting students in their homes. Congratulations to Prudence Goss, director of recruitment and student life, for making this event a success. Thanks also to our ADAPs (Assistant Directors of Academic Programs), faculty and staff, the RSPH Alumni Board, Business Services and Facilities Management, the Office of Career Services, the Office of Information Technology, and the Emory University Office of Financial Aid. Visit Emory is truly a team effort.

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New research grants

DuBois Bowman (biostatistics and bioinformatics) received $900,000 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The grant brings Bowman into the national Parkinson's Disease Biomarkers Program, a new NIH initiative. He will develop statistical tools to analyze data from brain imaging and genetic, molecular, and clinical tests to determine which combination of biomarkers can better predict Parkinson's than a single biomarker.

Rollins faculty received more than 40 grants for research and training from December 2012 to March 2013. View the complete list here.

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Appointments and promotions

Please join me in welcoming new faculty and staff and congratulating those who have been promoted to new positions:

New faculty

  • Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
    Julie Clennon, Instructor

  • Epidemiology
    Terryl Hartman, Professor
    Timothy Lash, Professor
    Eli Rosenberg, Assistant Professor

  • Global Health
    Robert Breiman, Professor

Faculty promotions

  • Behavioral Sciences and Health Education
    Michelle Kegler, to Professor

  • Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
    John Hanfelt, to Professor
    Zhaohui Qin, to Associate Professor with tenure

  • Environmental Health
    Justin Remais, to Associate Professor with tenure

  • Epidemiology
    Patrick Sullivan, to Professor

  • Global Health
    Saad Omer, to Associate Professor with tenure

New staff

  • Epidemiology
    Hillary Barton, Senior Research Interviewer
    Bridgett Figueroa, Research Administrative Assistant
    Mazie Tinsley, Administrative Assistant
    Monica Trigg, Senior Public Health Program Associate
  • Global Health
    Lauren Evans, Program Associate
    Joanne McGriff, Associate Director, Center for Global Safe Water
  • Health Policy and Management
    Cathy Lally, Data Analyst
  • Research Administration
    Lydia Flagg, Associate Sponsored Research Administrator
    Michele Greene, Senior Sponsored Research Accountant

Staff promotions

  • Behavioral Sciences and Health Education
    Zarie Riley, to Coordinator, Education Program

  • Epidemiology
    Nicole Luisi, to Data Analyst
    Alexandra Ricca, to Senior Public Health Program Associate

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Mohammed Ali  
Rachael Kane  
Kathleen Miner  
Mark Rosenberg  
Kathryn Yount  

Mohammed Ali (global heath and epidemiology) received the Velji Award for Teaching Excellence in Global Health from the Consortium of Universities for Global Health.

Rachael Kane13MPH is one of six Emory students who received the 2013 Humanitarian Award for excellence in service and leadership. Kane, a global health major, works with refugee families in Clarkston to build their capacity for growing food and improving nutrition.

Keith Klugman (global health) received Emory's 2013 Albert E. Levy Scientific Research Award for Senior Faculty, presented by the University Research Committee.

Kathleen Miner, associate dean of applied public health, received the 2013 Distinguished Fellow Award from the Society for Public Health Education.

Moiz Mumtaz (adjunct faculty/environmental health) received the 2013 Arnold Lehman Award from the Society of Toxicology.

Mark Rosenberg (adjunct faculty/global health), executive director of the Task Force for Global Health, received the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Award for Sustained National Leadership from Research America.

PhD students Lisa Staimez and Angela Miller took first and second place in the first annual Three-Minute Thesis Competition sponsored by the Laney Graduate School. Staimez, a student in the Nutrition and Health Sciences Program, won the competition for her presentation on "Unlocking the Gates to Diabetes Prevention." Miller, who is training in epidemiology, was the runner-up for her presentation on "Can Fathers Prevent Preterm Birth."

Kathryn Yount (global health) was elected president-elect of the Emory University Senate.

Honors to adjunct faculty and students: Five adjunct faculty members were honored for teaching excellence during Public Health in Action, the annual year-end celebration sponsored by the Office of Career Services to honor community partners in education. Honorees included Ciannat Howett (environmental health), Sumaya Karimi (global health), Ali Khan (epidemiology), Frederic E. Shaw (health policy and management), and David Westfall (Career MPH).

The program also featured poster presentations by 12 student finalists who demonstrated public health in action through their practicum experiences. Amanda Feldpausch (global epidemiology), Marty Sellers (health outcomes/CMPH), and Laura Wright (global environmental health) received top honors for their poster presentations. Also honored were 76 alumni and community professionals who have served two or more terms with the RSPH Mentoring Program since 2006. Four of the mentors have served more than seven terms.

And the winner is: The Rollins Practical Experience Program has a new name. Saurabh Chavan, a second-year student in epidemiology, came up with the moniker "Rollins Earn and Learn" to better reflect the program's purpose—providing students with paid opportunities in public health. The program pairs approximately 400 students with 40 Atlanta-area employers. Chavan is among the 71 students who suggested names for the program.

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Upcoming Events
*View all Rollins events on our online calendar

May 13, 2013
Noon – 2 p.m. | McDonough Field
Speaker: Brenda Fitzgerald, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health

Admission Information Session
May 24, 2013
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | CNR, Room 4001

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To view The Dean’s Letter online, visit our web page.To submit news items for future issues, please contact Pam Auchmutey in Health Sciences Creative Services at 712-9265 or pam.auchmutey@emory.edu.

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