Class Notes

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John McGowan
John McGowan

Graduation Honors

During the spring diploma ceremony, Rollins awarded 414 MPH or MSPH degrees and 25 dual degrees, while the Laney Graduate School awarded 14 PhD degrees, raising the total number of alumni to 5,760 in more than 90 countries.

Among those honored at the ceremony this year was John McGowan, professor of epidemiology and recipient of the Emory Williams Teaching Award, the university’s highest award for teaching excellence. Students tapped Michael Goodman, associate professor of epidemiology, as the Student Government Professor of the Year. Kathleen Adams, professor of health policy and management, received the Thomas F. Sellers Jr. Award. Named after the former chairman of community health at Emory, the award recognizes a faculty member for collegiality and serving as a role model and mentor to colleagues.

Ali S. Khan 00MPH, assistant surgeon general with the U.S. Public Health Service and director of the CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, gave the keynote address. To hear his remarks, please visit

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Dr. James T. (Tom) Cooper 57C 62M 87MPH co-authored the textbook Obesity and Treatment Essentials, a publication of Informa Healthcare. He and 15 other bariatric physicians each contributed a chapter in the book. Cooper has practiced bariatric medicine since 1967. He currently practices in Marietta, Ga., and serves as a brigadier general with the Georgia State Defense Force.


Alisa Hughley 97MPH published her first book, III Gifts: poems and photographs, in which she curates the poetry of her late brother, Carey Hughley III, and tells the story of his life and gifts. As editor, Alisa collected poems conveying themes of romantic, fraternal, and spiritual love. She also draws on her own experiences to recount her brother’s decision to become an organ donor and his tragic death. The book has been accepted into selected high school libraries with a companion cross-curricular lesson plan to educate youth about organ donation.

“Although he lived just 21 short years, I hope this book is a way to give voice to the voiceless and carry forth his timeless message of altruism,” says Hughley. She currently uses her training in public health to teach, consult, and maintain the websites and


Michelle McAllister 98MPH and Sophia Anne

Meridith Rentz 97MPH 97MBA became CEO of MedShare in Decatur, Ga., effective Sept. 1. Prior to joining MedShare, Rentz was COO of the Points of Life Institute, which has offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. She is the former vice chair of administration for Emory’s Department of Medicine.

Born: To Michelle McAllister 98MPH and her husband, Thomas, their first child, Sophia Anne, on Oct. 18, 2010. Michelle is a client services manager for Thomson Reuters in Ann Arbor, Mich. The family lives in nearby Ypsilanti.

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Married: Dr. Yelena Khromova 00MPH and Matthias Duensing on June 9, 2011. The couple lives in Toronto. Yelena is director of pharmacoepidemiology and risk management at Sanofi Pasteur, where she provides support for post-licensure monitoring of vaccine safety.

Stephanie (Wong) Venn-Watson 00MPH was profiled in Tufts Veterinary Medicine magazine on her “one health” research on dolphins and diabetes. Venn-Watson is a veterinary epidemiologist who heads the clinical research enterprise at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego. The foundation provides medical care for 120 dolphins and sea lions who make up the U.S. Navy’s Marine Mammal Program. Since the late 1950s, the Navy has studied how dolphins whip through water, with the goal of improving torpedo, ship, and submarine design. Today, the Navy trains dolphins and sea lions to help guard ports, personnel, and military vessels around the world. These marine animals have served in Vietnam and Iraq.

Venn-Watson says that the dolphins receive daily health inspections, provide routine blood samples, and are given numerous diagnostic tests for 30 to 40 years. The data generated has many applications to human medicine. Venn-Watson’s current investigation has implications for new strategies to treat type 2 diabetes, which affects 23.6 million Americans. Read more at

Born: To Tolton R. Pace 00C 02MPH and his wife, Khristal, a son, Roman Gabriel, on Jan. 24, 2011, in Atlanta. Pace writes that Roman is their first child and that both families are overjoyed. “I’m already making plans for Roman to attend Emory in the fall of 2029,” he writes.

Pace recently was named to the board of directors for the Villages of Carver YMCA in Atlanta. He currently is the coordinator for college readiness and multicultural initiatives at the Agape Community Center. Pace notes, “I’m excited to work in the nonprofit community-based arena again to prepare students for post-secondary options and to serve the growing Latino/Hispanic population in Atlanta.”

Married: Gwen Ewald 05MPH and Matthew Biggerstaff 01OX 03C 06MPH on April 16, 2011.

Jennifer Higgins 05MPH 05G received the Early Career Teaching Award from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. The award recognizes a young faculty member who best represents the school’s commitment to student learning and educational excellence. An assistant professor of population and family health, Higgins is a sexual health advocate who studies the relationship between sexuality, gender, and the use of contraceptive methods.

Married: Hilary Turner 05MPH and Bret Kricun on April 30, 2011, in Philadelphia, where they currently live.

Married: Kate Bowler 04C 06MPH and Oliver Sabot in August 2009. Kate is a research associate for monitoring and evaluation with the Clinton Health Access Initiative in Boston. She writes that hers was the “first Clinton Health Access Initiative wedding!” The couple lives in nearby Cambridge, Mass.

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Dr. Nia Bodrick 07MPH graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., in May. She began her pediatric training in July at Orlando Health, which serves Central Florida.

Married: Phoebe ­Alleman 07C 10MPH and Kevin Janflone 06B on March 19, 2011, in Homestead, Fla. Phoebe is a research coordinator for KDH Research & Communication in Atlanta.

Married: Dr. Michelle Lynn Buelow 11MPH and Dr. Benjamin Weston on March 21, 2011, in Roatan, Honduras. The couple lives in Brookfield, Wis. Buelow is a family medicine resident with United Allina, and Weston is an emergency medicine resident at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Dr. Sani Haider ­Kizilbash 11MPH began a hematology/oncology fellowship in July at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.  He previously was a hospitalist at William Beaumont Hospital in Troy, Mich.

Alumni Deaths


Carolyn Gale Miles 84MPH

Carolyn (Carrie) Gale Miles 84MPH of Glen Mills, N.C., on March 31, 2011, at home of pancreatic cancer. She was 64. For the past six years, Miles was the principal programmer for customized improvement strategies at AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals in Wilmington, N.C. She previously was a programmer in epidemiology research at two other pharmaceutical companies and at the University of Pennsylvania.

A native of Blue Point, N.Y., Miles met her husband, Rich Aldred, at a Quaker conference in North Carolina, and they married in 1990. When Miles lived in Atlanta during the late 1960s, she fought against housing discrimination for families with children, Aldred says. More recently, Miles was vice chair of the Thornbury Township Democratic Party. She was an avid sailor, quilter, gardener, contra dancer, songwriter, and flute player. In addition to her husband, she is survived by a ­daughter, Alice Reid; two sisters; a brother; and her former husband, Joseph Reid.


Stay Connected

Link up with fellow RSPH alumni through Facebook, LinkedIn, or E-Connection, the online community of the Emory Alumni Association. Add your photos to Rollins’ Facebook page in honor of the 35th anniversary of the public health program. To make a connection, visit “Alumni and Friends” at


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